According to Israeli news reports, a group of tourists in Istanbul was whisked to safety by Israeli security, narrowly avoiding the clutches of an Iranian hit or kidnap squad on Monday.
As it stands, the tourists received a telephone warning from an Israeli security official telling them to stay at the market they were in and not to return to their hotel, where an Iranian cell was waiting for their return.
Soon afterward, a bullet-proof vehicle took the tourists to the airport, directly onto a flight back to Israel, with their luggage remaining behind in the hotel due to the urgency of the situation.
This incident came on the heels of the Turkish MIT intelligence agency recently arresting a number of agents in the service of Iran who planned to conduct shooting and kidnapping attacks against Israeli tourists in Turkey.
Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, a part of the National Security Council has raised the travel warning for Istanbul to Level 4—the highest level. “Given the continuing nature of the threat and in light of the increased Iranian intentions to attack Israelis in Turkey, especially Istanbul, the National Security Council has raised the travel warning for Istanbul to the highest level, Level 4,” said the bureau in a statement. “Accordingly, the NSC calls on Israelis currently in Istanbul to leave the city at the earliest opportunity and on Israelis planning to travel to Turkey to avoid doing so until further notice,” it added.