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Israel raises Istanbul threat level to highest level, tells nationals to leave now

People walk next to Taksim mosque as the sun sets during the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 2, 2022. (AP/Francisco Seco)
People walk next to Taksim mosque as the sun sets during the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 2, 2022. (AP/Francisco Seco)

Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has raised its alert level for Istanbul to the highest possible level, calling on any Israelis in the city to leave immediately or risk their lives.

The announcement comes hours after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced the travel warning at a faction meeting, saying there was a “real and immediate” threat of an Iranian kidnap/murder plot targeting Israelis, and calling on Israelis to avoid any unnecessary travel to Istanbul or Turkey in general.

“Two weeks ago a travel warning to Turkey was raised, after defense officials raised fears of Iranian attempts to harm Israeli targets around the world, especially in Turkey,” reads a position paper from the National Security Council backing the decision.

The move means Turkey now has an alert rating of 4, putting it on par with Iran, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso and other dangerous corners of the globe.

The National Security Council says it raised the alert “given the continued threat and Iranian intentions to hurt Israelis in Turkey, especially Istanbul, cranking up a notch.”

The announcement also raises the warning level for the rest of Turkey to level 3, meaning Israelis should avoid non essential travel.

Iranian officials have vowed to exact revenge on Israel for the assassination of a senior Revolutionary Guard officer it blames on the Jewish state.

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