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Israel issues travel warning for Eurovision’s Swedish host city

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Israel issued a travel advisory Thursday urging citizens to avoid travelling to the Swedish city of Malmo ahead of the Eurovision song contest due to take place there, citing “credible concerns” of attacks.

Citing “anti-Israel protests” and “calls to harm Jews and Israelis”, the advisory shared concerns “that terrorist factions will take advantage of the demonstrations and the anti-Israel atmosphere to execute attacks on Israelis coming to Sweden for the Eurovision”.

The country’s National Security Council advised Israelis planning to travel to Sweden’s third largest city during the contest from May 7 to 11 to reconsider their plans.

The security council raised the travel alert for Malmo from level 2 (potential threat) to level 3 (moderate threat) without changing alert levels for the rest of Sweden.

The security council also advised those who did wish to travel to download the Israeli army’s Home Front Command application in order to receive real time announcements in case of an emergency there.

The application is usually used to send notifications in case of rocket attacks in Israel.

The city of Malmo on Wednesday promised heightened security for this year’s contest, where at least half a dozen applications have been filed for demonstration permits to protest the Israeli presence at the competition.

Malmo is home to over 360,000 inhabitants spanning 186 nationalities, including a large portion of the country’s Palestinian-origin population.

Critics have called for Israel to be banned from competing, as the war in Gaza nears seven months.

But the European Broadcasting Union allowed Eden Golan to represent Israel with her song “Hurricane”, a rewritten version of another song that was considered too political for its references to the October 7 attack.

Israeli media reported that Shin Bet, the country’s internal security service, advised the 20-year-old Russian-Israeli to stay confined to her room for the duration of her stay in Malmo.

The war started with Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel estimates that 129 captives seized by militants during their attack remain in Gaza. The military says 34 of them are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 34,596 people in Gaza — mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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