Israel raises Turkey terror threat assessment, tells citizens to leave ASAP


(JTA) — In a strongly worded statement, Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau urged all Israelis in Turkey to leave as soon as possible.

The statement Friday night said, “Following a situational assessment, we are reiterating and sharpening the high level of threat in Turkey,” the Times of Israel reported.

“Real and immediate terror threats remain throughout the country,” the statement continued, calling on Israelis in Turkey to “avoid crowded tourist areas, follow instructions of local authorities and get out as soon as possible.”

The warning raised the terror risk in Turkey from level 2, signaling a high concrete threat, to level 1, the highest concrete threat level. It also emphasized that the threat is not just in Istanbul but throughout Turkey, noting “we stress the threat applies to all tourism sites in Turkey.”

On March 19, three Israelis were killed and several others wounded in an attack in Istanbul by terrorists said to be linked to the Islamic State. Days later, Britain’s Sky News reported the Islamic State was planning an “imminent” attack on an Istanbul synagogue and Jewish school.

That week, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau raised the terror risk in Turkey from level 3 to level 2 and said Islamic State terrorists “had high capabilities” of carrying out more attacks against tourists in the country.

Tens of thousands of Israelis visit Turkey annually.

A Wednesday report on Israel’s Channel 2 news said that despite the late March travel warning, more than 110,000 Israelis were planning to vacation in Turkey during Passover.

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