Israel calls on its citizens to leave Turkey immediately

Istanbul, Turkey MOYAN BRENN PHOTO
Istanbul, Turkey MOYAN BRENN PHOTO

JERUSALEM — Israel issued a travel warning for Turkey, calling on Israeli citizens currently residing in or visiting Turkey to leave immediately.

The travel warning, which is upgraded from a basic concrete threat to a high concrete threat, was issued Monday by the National Security Council Counter Terrorism Bureau, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The warning comes a week after a suicide bombing at a main shopping centre in Istanbul killed three Israelis and one Iranian national. Turkish media later reported that the bomber targeted an Israeli tour group.

“The deadly 19 March 2016 attack in Istanbul, in which a group of Israeli tourists was hit, underscores the threat by Daesh against tourist targets throughout Turkey and proves high capabilities of carrying out further attacks,” read the new warning, which uses a the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

“Terrorist infrastructures in Turkey continue to advance additional attacks against tourist targets – including Israeli tourists – throughout the country,” the warning also said.

Turkish Police issued a nationwide alert on Sunday, warning of possible Islamic State attacks over the weekend against churches and synagogues, and calling on consulates and embassies in the country to be on high alert.

The Islamic State has been blamed for four of six bombing attacks in Turkey in the past eight months, the English-language Turkish news service Hurriyet Daily News reported.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart that his country is “ready to cooperate with Israel against terrorism.”