Israel warns of 'concrete' attack threat in Turkey

2016-04-09 14:00
Turkish police. (Emrah Gurel, AP, file)

Turkish police. (Emrah Gurel, AP, file)

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Tel Aviv - Israel has raised its security alert for travel to Turkey and called on its citizens to leave the country as soon as possible, warning of a "high-level" and "concrete" threat.

The country's counterterrorism bureau said late on Saturday that it was reiterating and sharpening the high level of threat in Turkey following a situational assessment.

"There are immediate risks of attacks being carried out in the country, and we stress the threat applies to all tourism sites in Turkey," the bureau said.

It called on all Israelis to avoid visiting Turkey and urged Israeli tourists there to leave "as soon as possible", defining the threat as level 2 - "concrete and high".

The country made a similar warning on March 28.

Three Israelis and an Iranian were killed and 39 people wounded when a man blew himself up on Istiklal Street, a famous shopping street in the heart of Turkey's largest city, on March 19.

Strained diplomatic relations

Turkey said the bomber had links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, and on Tuesday Israel's defence ministry said he had most probably targeted the Israelis deliberately.

Another attack in Istanbul's old city, the Sultanahmet district, targeting tourists killed 12 Germans and one Peruvian in January.

Separately, three different attacks in the capital Ankara in the last six months killed more than 170 people.

Tens of thousands of Israelis visit nearby Turkey each year despite strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On March 29, President Reuven Rivlin expressed deep concern over reports that ISIL was planning to attack Jewish schoolchildren in Turkey.

Nato member Turkey was a key regional ally of Israel until the two cut ties in 2010 over the deadly storming by Israeli commandos of a Turkish aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip, which left 10 Turkish activists dead.

The two sides have been in talks to repair the damaged ties.

Read more on:    turkey  |  israel  |  security

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