The Almog Beach in Eilat was evacuated after a Jordanian swam across the border from Jordan on Wednesday. The incident ended without any injuries.
Israel Police announced that residents could return to routine after they had announced that they were deployed and on alert in Eilat due to a suspected security incident.
A Jordanian was spotted swimming towards the Almog Nature Reserve on Wednesday morning and was stopped by two guards working for the Nature and Parks Authority. The situation was handled by the IDF and Israel Police, and the nature reserve has been declared a closed security zone, including the adjacent sea area.
According to Channel 12, the Jordanian stated that he infiltrated into Israel because he wanted to escape the economic situation in Jordan. The IDF Spokespersons Unit announced that an initial investigation found that the incident did not seem to be terror-related. The IDF is continuing its investigation.
“After we realized that it was a swimmer, we tried to contact him without success,” explained Mor Ohanona, an employee at the Nature and Parks Authority. “I approached him as soon as he got to the coast and I understood that he doesn’t speak any language except for Arabic. I looked him over to make sure he didn’t have any terrorist equipment on him. I took him to the offices of the reserve. I tried to speak with him with Google Translate. After I understood that he’s from Jordan, I immediately called the police who arrived here within a few minutes and took control of the situation.”
Eilat borders the Jordanian city of Aqaba. The coastal tourist hub has been subject to Jordanian infiltration by sea before, although it hasn’t always been hostile.
In 1992, a gray stallion belonging to Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan, the brother of then King Hussein of Jordan, swam to Israel, according to the Associated Press. Hussein laughed at the reports telling the AP that it was “too late for April Fool’s Day.”
Eilat’s city veterinarian at the time, Yaacov Zavrin, examined the horse and found that it was in good condition except for a small wound on its leg.
The horse was returned to Jordan after Israel transferred it to a UN officer near Yotvata, who then gave the horse to Jordanian soldiers, according to the AP.
The horse was stabled at a farm in Elot in southern Israel until the transfer. Children at the farm took care of the royal horse and sent a letter with the horse to King Hussein. “We wrote that we wanted peace between us,” said Yair, one of the children, according to the AP.
In the same year, two terrorists swam ashore south of Eilat and murdered a night watchman at a Hebrew University research facility, according to JTA. One of the terrorists was killed by security forces, while the other was captured.
The peace treaty between Jordan and Israel was signed in October 1994.