Israel urges citizens to leave Turkey amid Iranian threat
Jerusalem, Jun 13 (EFE).- Foreign ministry Yair Lapid on Monday urged Israeli citizens in Turkey to leave the country “as soon as possible,” citing the threat of Iranian attempts to kill or kidnap Israelis there.
“Do not fly to Turkey at all,” Lapid said in a televised statement. “If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible.”
The Israeli top diplomat said a series of attempted Iranian attacks against Israeli vacationing in Istanbul were recorded.
“They are intentionally choosing Israeli citizens to kidnap or kill. It can happen to anyone. It is a real and immediate danger,” Lapid pointed out, saying the Israeli authorities manage to repel those attacks.
Israel issued an advisory against visiting Turkey two weeks ago, following the May 22 assassination of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei in Tehran, for which Iran has blamed Israel.
Israel has told the United States that it was behind the assassination of Khodaie, the New York Times cited an intelligence official speaking on condition of anonymity days after the incident.
The assassination was a warning to Iran to halt the operations of a covert group within the Quds Force known as Unit 840, the newspaper said.
“Whoever harms Israelis will not get away with it. Israel’s long arm will get them, no matter where they are,” Lapid stressed.
“If you have planned a flight to Istanbul, cancel. No vacation is worth your life,” he continued, thanking the Turkish government for cooperating.
Dozens of flights with thousands of Israeli tourists leave for Turkey every day.EFE