Israelis Warned of Kidnap Attempts Overseas

Yoav Stern
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Yoav Stern

The government's anti-terror unit has issued a kidnap warning to Israelis overseas.

The statement released last night is based on warnings that Hezbollah people or affiliated Palestinian organizations might try to kidnap Israeli citizens overseas and advises Israelis to be extra cautious. However, the warning does not refer to any specific country.

"We have received new, concrete intelligence and reiterate the existing warning. The information is serious, but we don't know where in the world the danger is," said Elkana Har Nof of the anti-terror unit.

He said the intelligence refers specifically to plans to kidnap Israelis rather than harm them in other ways. The anti-terror unit repeated its recommendation not to visit any Arab state except for Mauritania and the Comoro Islands.

"It's easier for terrorists targeting Israelis to act in Arab states," Har Nof said. The anti-terror unit also warned against traveling to a number of other countries where there is a threat against Israelis. The full list of countries appears on the Foreign Ministry's Web site.

Since the kidnap warning does not refer to a specific state, the anti-terror unit issued general behavior guidelines for Israelis overseas. Israelis are advised not to accept unexpected business proposals from abroad. They should also refuse "unexpected gifts and invitations" from strangers.

The warning also advises against going to meetings with unknown people "in remote or isolated places in the dark."

Har Nof said cautious behavior can foil most kidnapping attempts. "Obviously we can't ask Israelis not to leave the country, so to reduce the risk, we issued general guidelines for cautious behavior. Our recommendations are based on knowledge of the terrorists' modus operandi, and if Israelis do as we recommend, it will be easier for us to protect them."

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