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Israel prevents student missions from visiting Ethiopia

January 17, 2020 at 1:14 am

Ethiopian Jews gather for a solemn collective prayer at a small synagogue in Lamberet, a neighborhood adjacent the Israeli embassy in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on 23 February 2019. [Minasse Wondimu Hailu – Anadolu Agency]

Israel has banned its student missions from visiting Ethiopia following a recent security report about a “possible threat” on the African continent, local media reported yesterday.

“Following warnings against travelling to Africa by the foreign office, the Israeli government had decided not to send any student missions to Ethiopia at this stage,” the country’s education ministry said in a statement.

Following the move, all Israeli flights scheduled this year to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa were reported to have been suspended.

In August 2018, the body of a missing 21-year-old Israeli student, named Aya Naamneh, was found in an Ethiopian desert. The Israeli foreign ministry said later at the time that Naamenh had died from a “fall after separating from her group of other students during a country touristic tour.”

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Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau recently said that there was a “potential threat to harm Israelis who live in Ethiopian eastern border province of Somalia,” warning that terror attacks may extend “deeply” into Ethiopia. The Israeli government referred to the Ethiopian security failure in April 2019 over several attacks across the country.

Relations between Ethiopia and Israel have been stable following a recent visit by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed. However, the Israeli security has pointed to “possible” presence of cells belonging to the Somali Al-Shabab organisation loyal to Al-Qaeda group in Ethiopia.