Following the stabilization of diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, Istanbul became a preferred tourist destination for Israelis. But on Monday the tables turned. “There is a real death threat,” warned the Hebrew foreign ministry, which demanded that its citizens who are on Turkish soil return to their country immediately. The reason: the imminence of an Iranian attack. Tehran intends to avenge the “mysterious” deaths of generals and scientists in its territory. Turkey, a country with which it shares hundreds of kilometers of border, is an ideal terrain. According to Hebrew media, an Iranian commando was in the Turkish capital looking for Israeli civilian targets, and After raising suspicions, he was intercepted by the local secret services.
The alert came while thousands of Israelis were in the capital and other regions of Turkey. Despite dire warnings, packed flights continued to leave Tel Aviv airport for Istanbul. “Those in Turkey should leave as soon as possible, and those planning to fly should avoid doing so until further notice,” reported Israeli foreign diplomacy. Accustomed to living with threats and unforeseen events, many prioritized maintaining their vacation plans: 21 flights departed on Monday with 3,750 passengers. “No vacation is worth risking your lives,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid implored.
Before the alert was made public on Monday, Israeli secret services rescued a couple from imminent danger last week. While the woman was walking through a market, she received a call warning her not to return to the hotel, since a group of Iranians was waiting to assassinate them. A caravan of ten Hebrew secret agents escorted the couple to the airport to immediately return to Israel, and they were not even able to return to the establishment for their belongings.
Tension between Israel and Iran has escalated in recent weeks. On the one hand, the assassination of Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was attributed to Hebrew intelligence, a high-ranking general in Tehranas well as the recurring attacks by aviation from tzahal on pro-Iranian targets in Syria. On the other hand, the repeated threats of revenge and the incessant violations of the nuclear agreements by the regime of the ayatollahs.
An Israeli official quoted by the Reuters agency said that several Iranians belonging to the Revolutionary Guard have already been arrested, and that the search operation is still underway. Despite this, the Turkish authorities insist that their country is a safe destination. “These travel advisories are related to different international events. We will continue to fight terrorism,” the Istanbul foreign ministry said, avoiding citing the alert issued from the Jewish state.
Israel’s National Security Council raised the alert level in Istanbul to level 4, the highest risk figure. This indicator, which requires immediate departure from the place, is established for countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan or Iran. The organization justified it by the “continued threat and the increase in Iranian plans to harm Israelis in Turkey.”
The television channel Kan11 reported that Iranian aggression plans were hatched even before General Khodaei’s death. But from Tehran they clarified that if revenge finally takes place, it will be within the borders of the Jewish state. “If we want to respond to Israeli actions, it will happen in the right place and not in third countries,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry.
A colonel responsible for the foreign action of the Revolutionary Guards, a military engineer, and two scientists responsible for the development of drones and missiles also recently died due to “unclarified circumstances”.