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Sunday Aug. 8, 2010 5:09 PM (EST+7)
Israel says US bomb shelter advice misses mark

Read more: Israeli foreign policy, US foreign policy, eilat, rockets, tourism, Sinai

JERUSALEM, Aug 8 (Reuters) - A warning to US citizens traveling to the Red Sea resort of Eilat that they should locate the nearest bomb shelter should properly apply to the next-door Jordanian resort of Aqaba, an irked Israel said on Sunday.

Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov plans to raise the US State Department's August 5 travel warning with US ambassador James Cunningham this week, either in a meeting or by telephone, his ministry said in a statement. The US warning at says rockets have been fired recently into the Eilat and Aqaba areas. US citizens in Eilat and southern Israel are advised to ascertain the location of the nearest bomb shelter.

There is no equivalent warning for Jordan, where a taxi driver was killed and three people were injured last Monday by a rocket which exploded outside a five-star international beach hotel in Aqaba, just across the gulf from Eilat.

The update to the US travel advisory to Israel is incorrect, singling out Eilat but not Aqaba, despite the fact that the rockets' only fatality was in the Jordanian city, the Israeli ministry statement said.

Differentiating Israel from its neighbor that actually suffered loss of life is improper and lacks balance.

The U.S. advisory also did not apply to Egypt's Sinai, where Israel says the salvo of short-range rockets was launched. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they were fired without a doubt by Islamist militants of the Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip to the north.

Israel believes the rockets were aimed at Eilat, a favourite seaside getaway, but overshot and hit the Jordanian beachfront. Egyptian security sources said they suspect Gaza militants, but the Hamas has denied the charge.

Eilat and Aqaba lie at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the Red Sea. Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994. Travel between the resorts involves few formalities and a 40-minute taxi ride.

An Israeli website quoted the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat as saying Egyptian security forces had arrested three Palestinians suspected of planning a simultaneous attack in Egypt's Red Sea resort, Sharm el-Sheikh.

The newspaper said a large quantity of bomb-making equipment was discovered in a car for an explosion investigators believe was supposed to have been carried out simultaneously with the rocket fire at Eilat and Aqaba.

The three men in custody all are of Palestinian extraction, the website quoted the newspaper as reporting.






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