Israel issues travel warning for Tunisia ahead of Lag B’Omer pilgrimage

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel issued a severe travel warning for Tunisia on Monday in advance of a traditional Lag B’Omer procession.

The warning issued by the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau signifies a high concrete threat.

“Terrorist elements, especially those affiliated with Global Jihad, continue to operate in Tunisia and commit attacks; therefore, there is a high threat level against Jewish targets. It is recommended that visits to Tunisia be avoided,” the warning reads.

A similar warning was issued last year.

The traditional festive procession near the El Ghriba synagogue on Djerba takes place on or around Lag b’Omer, a break during the 49 days of mourning between Passover and Shavuot, which this year begins on May 26. It draws hundreds of Tunisian Jews and visitors from Israel.

The synagogue, in the village of Hara Seghira, or Er-Riadh, dates back to 586 B.C., although the current building was reconstructed in the 19th century. El Ghriba is sometimes cited as North Africa’s oldest synagogue. In 2002, terrorists blew up a vehicle near the synagogue, killing 21 people.

In March 2015, 23 people, mostly tourists, were killed in an Islamic State terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Islamic State claimed then that it would commit more attacks in the country.

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