Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Tuesday night condemned the attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed at least 20 people a short time earlier, saying terrorism is the central threat to all of humanity.
In a statement, Herzog said his thoughts were with those affected by the twin bombing that killed at least 10 people and wounded dozens more.
No Israelis were killed or injured in the explosions, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday night.
With the help of the city’s Jewish community, Israel’s consul-general in Istanbul, Shay Cohen, and his deputy consul general Shira Ben Tzion contacted the director of Bakirkoy State Hospital, where most of the victim of the attack were taken. No Israelis were among those treated, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.
A group of Israeli senior citizens waiting for a connecting flight reportedly got stuck in one of the terminals in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem also opened its situation room on an emergency footing moments after the blasts were first reported.
Turkish Airlines check-ins from Tel Aviv were suspended in the wake of the attack.
“The only two flights from Ataturk to Tel Aviv this evening have already landed. A flight to Istanbul took off about an hour ago — and will surely land in a different airport. Two Turkish Airlines flights were due to depart tonight to Istanbul, and we recommend that members of the public due to fly with the company keep updated online,” the Israel Airports Authority said.
Istanbul is a popular destination for Israeli tourists, many of whom fly with Turkish Airlines and use Atatürk Airport for connecting flights to second destinations.
Three months ago, the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau raised its existing travel warning for Turkey from a “basic concrete threat” to a “high concrete threat.” In a statement following the March 19 attack in Istanbul, in which three Israeli tourists were killed and 10 wounded, the bureau reiterated its recommendation for Israelis to “avoid visiting the country and — for Israelis currently in Turkey — to leave as soon as possible.”
Ankara was reportedly dismayed by Israel’s increased warning, fearing a further drop in tourism.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli and Turkish officials signed an agreement restoring full diplomatic relations after a six-year hiatus.