(JNS.org) Tunisia has increased security around the Ghriba Synagogue on the island of Djerba in the southern portion of the country, where Jewish pilgrims are pouring in for an annual Lag B’Omer festival that began Wednesday.
As many as 2,000 Jews are expected to visit over the course of two days amid heightened security concerns due to a number of recent Islamist terror attacks in the country. The anticipated number of tourists, while large, is far less than the 8,000 Jewish tourists who used to visit Tunisia for the annual Lag B'Omer event before an al-Qaeda suiciding bombing in 2002. Currently, about 1,500 Jews still live in Tunisia.
Earlier this month, a Tunisian newspaper reported that a plot by the Islamic State terror group to target a synagogue in a coastal town east of Tunis had been foiled. Authorities are cordoning off the Jewish district of Djerba and searching all visitors on Lag B'Omer, AFP reported.
The Ghriba Synagogue is believed to have been built in 586 BC by Jews who escaped the land of Israel after the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple.