Turkey over the weekend issued a warning that IS terrorists were planning to attack places of worship, including shuls, in the coming days. An attack could materialize as early as Sunday, Turkish officials said. The attack is part of the campaign that IS debuted with last week’s attacks in Belgium, and which the terror group plans to continue this week, officials said.
Along with shuls, other targets include churches, European embassies and missions, and other Western-oriented institutions. IS terrorists are very anxious to carry out attacks this week because of the Christian holidays taking place this week, the officials said.
The officials stressed that there was no specific threat, but that intelligence indicated that attacks were possible, especially in Ankara. IS has taken responsibility for six terror attacks in Turkey over the past eight months.
Last weekend, three Israelis were killed and eleven injured in a suicide bombing in central Istanbul. According to officials, the terrorist who set off the bomb on Istikal Street was associated with IS. In a raid on the home of the terrorist Mehmet Ozturk, identified as the suicide bomber, Turkish police found materials associating him with IS, and determined that the Turkish native had undergone training with IS in Syria.
Last Sunday, Israel’s security cabinet issued fresh travel warnings on travel to Turkey. In a statement, the National Security Council said that “recent months have seen a considerable upsurge in the threat level in Turkey, which has found expression in the significant magnitude of terrorist attacks, especially suicide attacks by the Kurdish underground and ISIS, throughout the country, notably in Istanbul and Ankara. In the wake of an assessment of the situation, it was decided to update the existing travel warning vis-à-vis Turkey from an ongoing potential threat to a basic concrete threat, and to reiterate our recommendation to the public to avoid visiting the country.”