TEL AVIV — Israel has appealed to its nationals to leave Egypt immediately and authorities increased the alert level in the Jewish state amid intelligence that strikes were being planned following the bombing of two vacation sites packed with Israelis.
Officials said the alert has been compounded by the refusal of Egyptian authorities to cooperate in the search and rescue effort in Taba.
Officials said that for nearly nine hours, Egyptian authorities prevented Israeli medical and rescue teams from crossing the border in Sinai, Middle East Newsline reported. They said that even after permission was granted by the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian police continued to block the entry of Israeli heavy equipment and crews to search for those trapped in the rubble of the Taba hotel.
“There are efforts to evacuate the Israeli injured,” Brig. Gen. Ruth Yaron, the Israeli military’s spokeswoman, said on Friday. “We will need Egypt’s permission for a helicopter to get a full picture of the situation. Unfortunately, the Egyptians haven’t granted this permission. We are having difficulties in getting a range of approvals.”
The massive nearly-simultaneous attacks on Israeli targets in Egypt have been attributed to Al Qaida.