Israel has been working closely with Turkish authorities to thwart a major terror threat to Israeli citizens in the country from Iran – one of the highest-level threats to Israelis in recent years. Israel has reportedly prevented a series of terror attacks and kidnappings in Istanbul, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praising the cooperation of President Erdogan. Turkey is understood to have arrested a number of individuals involved in the alleged terror plots – seen as an attempted response to the recent death of senior IRGC officials.
In one reported incident, Israeli security officials intercepted several Israeli tourists and took them directly to the airport to return to Israel after it was discovered that several Iranian agents were waiting to kill or kidnap them in their hotel room. including a reported attempted killing or kidnapping.
Last week, the Israeli government placed Turkey into its highest risk warning for Israeli nationals due to threats of Iranian actions. All Israeli citizens in Turkey were ordered to leave, with all those planning trips told to scrap plans. Travellers transiting through Turkey were allowed to do so if they do not leave the airport. Bennett thanked Turkish officials for their part and praised cooperation between Jerusalem and Ankara.
The threats are thought to be as revenge for operation attributed to Israel that have been carried out against Iran and her proxies, such as the assassination of Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp official. The nationalities of the terrorists arrested have not been released, although it is likely that even if the attackers themselves are not Iranian, they have been instructed to do so by Iran.
According to Israeli sources, there are around 2000 Israelis left in Turkey, with fewer joining them each day, suggesting that the warnings are being heeded.