Israel issues travel warning for India, cites immediate threat of attacks
Israel’s anti-terrorism directorate issued a travel warning for India on Friday, citing an immediate threat of attack on Western and tourist targets, particularly in the south-west region of the country.
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau, in a statement released by the prime minister’s office, raised the alert level and said it corresponded to a “concrete basic threat”.
“A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the New Year where a concentration of tourists will be high,” part of the warning said.
The statement recommended that tourists avoid participation in such parties. It also called on families in Israel to contact their relatives in India and tell them of the threat.
In addition, it recommended avoiding markets, festivals and crowded shopping areas. Unusually, the warning was published on Friday evening in Israel, after the start of the Jewish Sabbath, when government offices close for business.
The directorate did not say what prompted the warning.
The south-west part of the country -- which covers popular holiday destinations such as Goa, Pune, Mumbai and Cochin -- are particularly at risk, it said.
An Israeli Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi confirmed the warning and reiterated: “Israel has issued a travel advisory surrounding New Year’s Eve celebrations events in south-west India, with specific regard to beach parties, clubs and highly-populated tourist sites.”
India remains a popular tourist destination for Israeli citizens and according to Jewish Post an estimated 20,000 former Israeli soldiers travel to India every year.
Israeli citizens and Jewish sites in India have been attacked in the past, the most infamous incident occurred during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack when members of the Pakistani-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) targeted the local Chabad House, among other sites, in Mumbai.
In 2012, the wife of Israeli diplomat stationed in India, her driver and two others were wounded in a bomb attack on her car. Israel and India share close military ties.