Israel moving towards easing Turkish travel warnings, although danger remains

Israel may withdraw an extraordinary advisory last week warning its citizens to stay away from Turkey, after an Iranian plot to kidnap or assassinate Israel in Istanbul was apparently thwarted, according to Sunday’s report. Is.

The Israeli travel warning, which calls on citizens to avoid travel to Istanbul for any reason and to avoid unnecessary travel elsewhere in Turkey, is in effect from 13 June. Officials in both countries indicated recently that they were seeking to lift the ban. Just in time for the summer travel season.

Channel 12 News reported on Sunday that a decision had been made to remove the warning, but it remained in place due to unspecified bureaucracy, citing an unnamed source.

The claim could not be verified, and while Israeli officials have indicated that the recent arrests of Iranian agents accused of conspiring against Israel have downplayed the threat level, Turkey is still completely safe for Israeli tourists. and it is not known whether the elements of the warning will remain in place.

Officially, the government said in a statement on Sunday that the warnings remained in place, but they hoped they would soon be able to change their instructions so that Israelis could travel to the popular destination “without fear”. .

It was not clear whether the delay in lifting the warning was related to Israel’s own internal political unrest; The travel alert is issued by the Anti-Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office, which is being transformed from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is set to take over as Prime Minister in the coming days.

Lapid issued the original warning hours before it was distributed in official channels, and has been at the forefront of Israel’s diplomatic relationship with Turkey. During a visit to Ankara on Thursday, he said Israel was looking to lift the warning, which threatened to sabotage the fragile resumption of diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey.

According to Lapid and other Israeli officials, critical intelligence had indicated that Iran was seeking to carry out attacks against Israeli tourists in the country in retaliation for the numerous killings and attacks on Iranian military and nuclear targets, which are known to be Jewish. State is held responsible.

Turkish authorities arrested an alleged Iranian cell that sought to target Israelis in Istanbul on June 23, 2022. (screen capture/CNN Turkey)

a senior security officer Hebrew media briefing on Friday The Mossad and local counterparts thwarted three Iranian attacks targeting Israeli civilians in Istanbul in recent days.

The security official said Mossad intelligence led Turkish officials to 10 members of an Iranian cell who were allegedly planning the abduction and murder of a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey and his wife. The official said 10 were arrested on Thursday.

Hebrew reports said Israel’s Mossad spy agency hired private planes to bring the couple and others back to Istanbul in Istanbul. The name of the diplomat has not yet been released.

According to the official, Mossad managed to foil two other plots against Israelis in Istanbul in recent days, with tourists fleeing the country at the “last possible second”.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, denied Jerusalem’s warnings of a Tehran-directed conspiracy in Turkey, calling the claims “baseless” and part of a “premeditated scenario to destroy relations between the two Muslim countries”.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman responded on Twitter: “For several weeks now, Iranian terrorist groups have been trying to kill innocent Israelis on Turkish soil at the behest of the terrorist government of Iran.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards mourners around the coffin of Colonel Syed Khodai during a funeral procession at Imam Hussein Square in the capital Tehran on May 24, 2022. (Atta Canare/AFP)

Iran and Israel have engaged in shadow warfare for years, but tensions have risen after high-profile incidents with Tehran blaming Israel.

The Islamic Republic claimed that Israel was responsible for the killing of Revolutionary Guards Colonel Hassan Sayyed Khodai in Tehran on May 22. The killing of Khodai was the most high-profile killing inside Iran since the November 2020 assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

On Thursday, Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which also handles operations outside the country, announced it was replacing the head of its intelligence unit, Hossein Tayeb, who held the position for more than a decade.

taeb again and again Nominated The Hebrew media has been reported as the man behind the planned attacks on Israelis in Turkey.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported that Guards Commander Major General Hossein Salami appointed General Mohammad Kazemi to head the intelligence organization.

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