Lapid warns Israelis to avoid Turkey, says Iranian attempts have already been foiled
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid urges Israelis in Istanbul to return home in light of Iran’s alleged attempts to attack Israeli travelers as it seeks revenge for the killing of a senior government official Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Lapid says Iranian operatives seek to assassinate or kidnap Israelis, calling it a “real and immediate threat.”
“If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible. If you have planned a trip to Istanbul, cancel it. There are no holidays worth your lives,” Lapid told television cameras at the start of a Yesh Atid faction meeting.
“Do not fly to Turkey at all”, unless this trip is “essential”, adds the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Lapid goes out of his way to thank the Turkish government for its efforts to protect Israelis in the country.
“Israeli security organizations, the Foreign Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office, we have all been part of a massive effort in recent weeks that has saved Israeli lives,” he said. “Some of them have returned to Israel and are walking among us without even knowing that their lives have been saved.”
Travel warnings usually come from the Prime Minister’s Office of Counterterrorism, not from party meetings, but a spokesperson for Lapid told The Times of Israel the announcement was made because it is where Lapid was making public remarks.
According to Israeli media reported on Sunday, Israeli and Turkish security agencies uncovered an Iranian plot to kidnap Israeli tourists in Turkey last month and foiled it in no time.
Israeli diplomatic missions are on high alert, expecting Iran to seek revenge for the killing last month of the IRGC officer.
However, Kan reported that the attempted kidnapping happened before the officer was killed.