Israel Alerted to Several Hamas, Hezbollah Kidnap Plots Abroad

Counter-Terrorism Bureau issues travel warning to thousands of Israelis traveling abroad during Passover holiday, recommends to stay away from sites with high concentration of Israeli tourists.

Multiple warnings received by Israeli security agencies indicate that Arab terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah will attempt to abduct Israelis vacationing in the Mediterranean region.

The warnings prompted the Counter-Terrorism Bureau, a government body, to issue a travel alert on April 10, before the Passover holiday.

Thousands of Israelis travel abroad during Passover every year, including more than 3,000 who flew to Turkey or Greece a few days before the holiday began and some 25,000 tourists who were expected to head into Egypt at the Taba border crossing.

Israelis have been told that if they choose to travel despite the warning, they should stay away from sites with a high concentration of Israeli tourists, be on alert at tourist sites and entertainment venues, and not stick to a predictable routine.

The Counter-Terrorism Bureau has also recommended that Israeli travelers reject unexpected or unusually tempting business offers while abroad, refuse to meet people they don't know well in out-of-the-way areas or in the dark, and keep unexpected or suspicious-looking visitors out of their hotel rooms.

Terror groups are motivated to abduct Israelis by the prospect of securing the release of hundreds of prisoners in a swap with Israel, an appetite that has been whetted by previous abductions - including that of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who Hamas has held in Gaza since 2006; and of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose remains were returned to Israel as part of a 2008 swap with Hezbollah that resulted in the release of hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.

Hezbollah is also interested in exacting revenge for the February 2008 assassination of senior official Imad Mughniyeh, which the Shi'ite Muslim organization attributes to Israel.

Since his assassination, Hezbollah has made approximately 10 attempts to carry out a revenge attack on Israeli targets abroad, but failed in its efforts to abduct Israelis and to set off car bombs near the Israeli embassy in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.