Israel calls on citizens to leave Turkey over ‘Iranian threat’

The Israeli government on Monday urged citizens to leave Turkey without delay, citing planned attacks by Iranian operatives in Istanbul, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Pointing to “real and immediate danger,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid referred to “several Iranian attempts at carrying out terrorist attacks on Israelis on holiday,” the newspaper said.

“If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible. … If you have planned a flight to Istanbul — cancel. No vacation is worth your life,” he said.

Monday’s announcement by the Israeli government follows an updated travel warning on Turkey issued in late May, which cited security concerns over a possible Iranian response to the assassination of a senior officer in the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the Times of Israel reported.

The Israeli official on Monday thank the government of Turkey for its efforts to protect Israeli citizens.

Ankara understands that, while tourism is important, some risks should not be taken, Lapid said.

A leading tourist destinations for Israelis, Turkey hosted more than 507,000 Israeli tourists in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jerusalem Post last week reported that Israeli security agencies, along with Israeli and Turkish officials had foiled an attempted attack on Israelis by an Iranian network operating in Turkey.

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