Israeli and Turkish officials refused to comment Tuesday on a report by Britain’s Sky News that the Islamic State group planned to attack Jewish schoolchildren in Turkey.
The report came hours after Jerusalem issued an alert urging all Israeli citizens to leave Turkey as soon as possible, citing an Islamic State threat, and nine days after three Israelis were killed in a bombing in Istanbul.
According to Sky News, citing an “intelligence source,” terrorists are plotting to attack a synagogue which also doubles as a school and community center in the Beyoglu neighborhood of Istanbul.
The source said the threat was imminent and could happen at any moment
“The most likely target of an attack is Istanbul’s synagogue in Beyoglu, which also has a community center and a school attached to it,” Sky reported.
Asked by AFP to comment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and Israel and Turkey’s foreign ministries refused.
Three Israelis were among four people killed in a March 19 suicide bombing in Istanbul. The fourth was Iranian.
Israeli officials followed up that warning Monday by raising the terror risk in Turkey from level 3 (basic concrete threat) to level 2 (high concrete threat).
The Prime Minister’s Office cited the March 19 attack, which, it said in a statement, underscored the threat emanating from Islamic State cells that seek to attack tourism sites and proved that IS has “high capabilities of carrying out further attacks.”
The Turkish government said the bomber had links to IS.
The group has been blamed for four bombings that have rocked Turkey in the past eight months, including a massacre at a peace rally in the capital Ankara in October that claimed 103 lives.
Sky reported on its website that unidentified “intelligence officials” said that a fresh attack was imminent, based on information from six IS operatives arrested in southern Turkey.