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Egypt warns Iran not to target Israelis on its soil — report

Citing anonymous sources, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed says Cairo informed Tehran it demands to be kept out of the Israeli-Iranian shadow war

Mourners gather around the coffin of Iran's Revolutionary Guards colonel Sayyad Khodaei during a funeral procession at Imam Hussein square in the capital Tehran, on May 24, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Mourners gather around the coffin of Iran's Revolutionary Guards colonel Sayyad Khodaei during a funeral procession at Imam Hussein square in the capital Tehran, on May 24, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Egyptian security officials warned Iran not to operate on Egyptian soil to target Israelis, days after Turkey and Israel apparently thwarted attempts to target Israeli civilians in Turkish territory, according to a report Wednesday in the Qatar-backed daily Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed.

“Egyptian officials informed their Iranian counterparts that Egypt will not accept the involvement of its security reputation in the ongoing conflict between Tel Aviv and Tehran,” the report said.

The officials reportedly added that Cairo has in the past declined to join Israel or other regional actors in their shadow war against Iran.

According to the report, Israel informed Egypt that Iran had begun to consider targeting Israeli citizens there, after collaboration between Israeli and Turkish intelligence prevented attacks on Turkish soil.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war, but tensions have ratcheted up in recent months following a string of high-profile incidents Tehran has blamed on Israel. Jerusalem, as is common practice, neither confirms nor denies its involvement in most of the incidents.

Israel warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey in mid-June, fearing Iranian retribution. According to senior Israeli officials, significant intelligence had indicated that Iran was seeking to carry out attacks against Israeli tourists in the country to avenge a series of killings and strikes on Iranian military and nuclear targets that have been attributed to the Jewish state.

In rare public announcements, Israeli officials publicly urged Israelis in Istanbul to lock their hotel rooms at night and avoid strangers. At times, the security establishment even declared that an operation to capture Israelis had started.

Tourists pass through a police checkpoint in Istanbul as Blue Mosque (sultanahmet) and Hagia Sophia Mosque are surrounded by a police fence for security reasons, on June 14, 2022 (Ozan KOSE / AFP)

On Tuesday, Israel eased the elevated travel warning, returning it to Level 3, or moderate. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s security forces for foiling attempts by Iran to attack Israeli travelers.

“Our activities were successful, and succeeded in protecting human life,” said Bennett. “We will gradually return to normal.”

The Islamic Republic has held Israel responsible for the killing of Revolutionary Guards Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei in his Tehran home on May 22. Khodaei’s assassination was the most high-profile killing inside Iran since the November 2020 killing of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

On Thursday, Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which also handles operations outside of the country, announced that it was replacing the head of its intelligence unit, Hossein Taeb, who held the position for over a decade.

Taeb has been repeatedly named in Hebrew media reports as the man behind the planned attacks on Israelis in Turkey.

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