Israel said that Turkish-Israeli security collaboration led to the prevention of Iranian terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists in Turkey.
“The operational efforts alongside Turkish security forces have borne fruit. In recent days, in a joint Israeli-Turkish effort, we thwarted a number of attacks and a number of terrorists were arrested on Turkish soil,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday.
While the Iranian ayatollah regime has a long history of terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish civilians around the world, tensions are particularly high now after a number of senior Iranians were killed under unclear circumstances.
Iran has attributed these deaths to Israeli assassins and vowed revenge.
Acting on credible threats, Israel last week raised its security alert for its citizens in or traveling to Turkey. A short flight from Tel Aviv, Turkey is a popular tourist destination that attracts large numbers of Israeli visitors.
“Following events in Turkey in recent weeks and after a series of Iranian terror attempts targeting Israelis who were vacationing in Istanbul, we call on Israelis not to fly to Turkey,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned last week. “Unless you have some essential need – do not fly there, and if you are currently in Istanbul, come back to Israel as soon as possible.”
While still maintaining caution, Bennett thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the fruitful anti-terrorism collaboration between Turkey and the Jewish state earlier this week.
“We are continuing to work together with the goal of bringing the situation in Turkey and Israeli tourism back to normal. We have to finish the counterterrorism operations,” stated Bennett.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have improved in recent months as both Ankara and Jerusalem view closer commercial relations as mutually beneficial for both countries.
Bennett emphasized that Israel’s security situation has improved thanks to growing regional security cooperation with moderate Middle Eastern governments due to the historic Abraham Accords.
“We are slowly starting to see before our eyes a united and stronger Middle East. In that framework, the State of Israel is stronger and safer. Israel’s regional stance continues to improve. We have a very warm policy of goodwill. Every minister is working in his area to keep up the momentum that began with the Abraham Accords,” Bennett said.
The combination of increased Israeli tourism to Turkey and the country’s shared border with Iran makes the location a tempting target for Iranian plots against Israelis.
However, Iran’s vast terror network is active far beyond Turkey. Senior Israeli officials are concerned that Iran could attack Israeli visitors in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
While there has yet to be a specific warning, an unnamed Israeli diplomatic source recently told Israel’s Channel 13 that Israelis should avoid traveling to these countries.
“I would recommend Israelis not go there, and if they go, they should take extra care,” warned the unnamed Israeli source.
Given Iran’s difficulty in reaching targets inside Israel, Tehran focuses on more vulnerable targets such as Israeli tourists abroad and local Jewish communities.
In late May, Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari, a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer, was shot and killed in his car outside his home. Also, two top scientists recently died in separate incidents from apparent food poisoning. Iran blames Israel for these attacks.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.