Israel closes border crossing into Egypt after warning of an ′imminent′ militant attack | News | DW | 10.04.2017
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Israel closes border crossing into Egypt after warning of an 'imminent' militant attack

Israel has closed one of its border crossings with Egypt, citing fears of an "imminent" attack in the area. It comes after twin bombings targeting Coptic Christian churches in Egypt killed over 40 people on Sunday.

Israeli officials on Monday closed one of the country's border crossings into Egypt amid fears of an "imminent" terror attack targeting tourists in the region.

Israeli citizens will be prevented from crossing into the Egyptian border town of Taba on the Sinai peninsula until at least April 18, the end of the Jewish Passover holiday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

Just minutes after the ban was announced, Israeli military said a rocket was fired from the Sinai into southern Israeli. No injuries were reported.

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The crossing will remain open for those seeking to return from Egypt, officials said.

The border between the towns of Eilat and Taba is one of the regions busiest stretches during the Passover holiday, with thousands of Israelis travelling to visit Red Sea resorts.

This year, however, Israel has warned its citizens to avoid the area because of reported Islamist militant activity in the Sinai region.

Coptic Christians fleeing Sinai

Dozens of Coptic Christians have left Sinai after a string of jihadist attacks

In a statement on Monday, Israel's government said its intelligence indicated "increased activity" by the so-called "Islamic State" in Sinai. "With IS losing ground in Iraq and Syria, there is renewed motivation to carry out terror attacks in different arenas at this time," it added.

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces in the Sinai, but has rarely carried out an attack against Israel. 

In 2015, IS militants downed a Russian airliner over the Sinai region, killing all 224 people on board, most of whom were Russian tourists.

Egypt declares three-month state of emergency after

The heightened security alert across the region comes after Islamist militants bombed two Coptic Christian churches in the Egyptian towns of Alexandria and Tanta during Palm Sunday ceremonies. More than 40 people were killed, while some 130 were injured in the two attacks. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Egypt declared a three-month state of emergencyfollowing the attack after IS warned of future attacks, while the Israeli Foreign Ministry urged all of citizens in the Sinai to return home immediately.

dm/rt (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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