Israel Issues UAE Travel Warning, Citing Iranian Plans to Target Israelis Abroad

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El Al planes at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in March.
El Al planes at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in March.Credit: Jack Guez/AFP

Israel's National Security Council on Monday advised tourists against travel to the United Arab Emirates and other countries across the region, citing the threat of attack by arch-enemy Iran.

The warning included both Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE as well as Bahrain. Both Gulf Arab countries established diplomatic ties with Israel last year under historic U.S.-brokered agreements.

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“We estimate that Iran will continue to operate in the near future to harm Israeli targets,” the council's anti-terrorism office said in a statement.

It identified Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, the Kurdish region of Iraq, as well as Turkey, Jordan and Egypt as areas to avoid.

The Israeli defense establishment’s assessment is that Tehran is yet to respond to the extent it wishes to the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which it attributes to Israel.

In addition to Iranian attacks on Israeli ships in recent months, Jerusalem says Iran attempted to carry out attacks against Israeli targets around the world, including the United Arab Emirates.

After establishing ties with Israel last year, the UAE became a popular destination for Israeli tourists, even after a similar travel advisory was issued.

The coronavirus pandemic halted most travel. But after a successful vaccination campaign, Israel has begun to reopen its economy and expects tourism to pick up steam in the coming months.

Last month, Israeli media reported a foiled Iranian attack against an Israeli embassy in East Africa. Intelligence officials said the attempted attack was planned by Iranian agents with dual European citizenship, whose task was to gather intelligence on Israeli sites, as well as the American and UAE embassies, as part of Tehran’s attempt to avenge the killings of Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh. 

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