New Turkey Warning: ‘Definite Concrete Threat’ for Visiting Israelis

YERUSHALAYIM -
Workers remove glass from the broken window next to the scene of a suicide bombing at Istiklal street, a major shopping and tourist district, in central Istanbul, Turkey March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Workers remove glass from the broken window next to the scene of a suicide bombing on Istiklal Street, a major shopping and tourist district, in central Istanbul, Turkey, last week. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

Stay away from Turkey altogether, said Israel’s National Counterterrorism Council on Monday. Last weekend the government issued a warning about travel to Turkey, saying there was a “basic concrete threat” of terror attacks in the country in general, and against Israelis and Jews in particular. On Monday, the Council increased that warning to a “definite concrete threat.”

The Israeli announcement follows one by Turkey itself over the weekend, which said that IS terrorists were planning to attack places of worship, including shuls, in the coming days. 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 “pagan 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.

On Monday, the Council reiterated Sunday’s warning, adding to it that all travel to Turkey should be avoided.

Israel has the same level warning as Turkey for Tunisia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has given the highest warning levels for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.

Israelis are banned from traveling to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.