Israeli FM to visit Turkey amid threat of Iran attacks

JERUSALEM: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit Turkey next week, his office said Sunday, days after he urged Israelis to leave that country over threats of attacks by Iranian operatives.

Sunday’s announcement came after Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke by telephone with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and “thanked” him “for the efforts to thwart terrorist activities on Turkish soil”, according to a statement from the Israeli presidency.

“President Herzog emphasised that the threat has not yet passed and that the counterterror efforts must continue,” it added.

Lapid will visit Turkey on Thursday and meet his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, an Israeli foreign ministry statement said.

On Monday, Lapid urged Israelis in Turkey to leave “as soon as possible”, saying they faced “a real and immediate danger” from Iranian agents.

The foreign minister cited “several Iranian attempts at carrying out terror attacks against Israelis on holiday in Istanbul”.

“If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible,” he said.

“If you have planned a flight to Istanbul –cancel. No vacation is worth your life.”

The stark warning came amid the latest surge in tensions between bitter rivals Iran and Israel, with Tehran blaming the Jewish state for a series of attacks on its nuclear and military infrastructure, inside Iran but also inside Syria.

In recent weeks, Israeli media carried several reports claiming that attacks on citizens in Turkey were being planned.

Public broadcaster Kan reported last Monday that Iranian operatives had planned to kidnap Israelis in Turkey a month ago but the plot was thwarted after Israel alerted Ankara.

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