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Israel warns its citizens to avoid UAE and Bahrain, citing threat of attack by Iran

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Israel's National Security Agency advised tourists against travel to the UAE and Bahrain among other countries, citing the threat of Iran attacking Israelis overseas, Israeli media reported on Monday.

The agency also listed Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and the Kurdish region of Iraq as areas to avoid, the Times of Israel said.

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

The UAE and Bahrain signed the US-brokered Abraham Accord, agreeing to normalize relations with Israel last year.

The Head of Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi, Eitan Naeh told UAE’s state news agency WAM in February around 130,000 Israeli tourists visited the UAE since air traffic was launched between the two countries.

Israel and the UAE are also discussing establishing a quarantine-free travel corridor, the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier in March. The two countries aim to finalize and implement the agreement in April 2021.

Heightened Israel-Iran tensions

Iran has been threatening to attack Israeli targets since its chief nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated in November near Tehran. It accuses Israel, which has been suspected in previous killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, of being behind the shooting.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility. But Fakhrizadeh has long been on Israel’s radar screen, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying at a 2018 news conference about Iran’s nuclear program: “Remember that name.” Israel accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons — a charge Iran denies.

Tel Aviv warned it will respond with extreme counterattacks “in the next war” against threats from its arch-enemy Iran, in a rare address by the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi in late January.

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