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Turkey reportedly busts Iranian cell planning attack on Israeli tourists

Two Turkish riot police officers walk in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, on June 14, 2022. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)
Two Turkish riot police officers walk in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, on June 14, 2022. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

Turkey has detained eight people allegedly working for an Iranian intelligence cell that planned to assassinate Israeli tourists in Istanbul, according to local media reports.

The eight, who are not all Iranian nationals, were detained in a raid last week in three houses in Istanbul’s popular Beyoglu district, the private IHA news agency reports.

Israel has repeatedly urged its citizens in recent weeks not to travel to Turkey and to leave the country immediately because of “possible” threats from Iranian operatives.

IHA reports that Iran sent agents disguised as businessmen, tourists and students to Istanbul to assassinate Israelis. It says the Iranians split into four groups of two assassins who could better track their Israeli targets.

“The hitmen in the assassination team, who settled in two separate rooms on the second and fourth floors of a hotel in Beyoglu, were [detained] with a large number of weapons and ammunition,” IHA reports.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is expected to take charge as prime minister of a caretaker government in the coming days, is on his way to Turkey to meet with officials.

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