Report: Israel May Ease Turkey Travel Warning After Busting Iranian Cells

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a news conference as they meet in Ankara, Thursday. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Israel may lift the advisory warning against trips to Turkey for its citizens, which was issued two weeks ago amid Iranian terror threats, according to reports.

Israeli authorities have already made a decision to ease the restriction before the summer travel season but it remains in force due to bureaucratic procedures, Channel 12 reported, citing an unnamed source.

An official statement issued by the government on Sunday stated the travel warning remained in place even though the danger level was lowered following last week’s arrest of Iranian intelligence agents, who were preparing attacks against Israeli tourists and diplomats in Istanbul. The statement, however, expressed hope that Israelis could travel to Turkey “without fear” soon.

The delay in the travel warning lift could be caused by the recent turmoil in the Israeli government with the ruling coalition collapsing and the Knesset facing disbandment. As the original warning was issued by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is expected to take over as the country’s interim prime minister in the upcoming days, it could take more time for the next travel instructions to be approved by the diplomatic officials.

Last week Lapid visited Ankara and said that Israel was looking forward to lifting the warning, saying that Turkey was “the number-one destination for Israeli tourists.” Lapid also thanked the Turkish government for thwarting an Iranian assassination plot against Israeli tourists.

According to media reports, local security services in cooperation with the Mossad uncovered three Iranian terrorist groups that targeted Israeli civilians in Istanbul. Last week 10 members of an Iranian cell were arrested for planning to kidnap and kill Israeli tourists as well as the country’s former ambassador to Turkey and his wife.

Iran has been threatening Israel with revenge for the killing of Revolutionary Guards Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei in late May. Tehran accused Israel of his assassination along with the string of high-profile incidents targeting Iranian military officials and engineers that has followed in recent weeks.

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