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Report: Officials concerned over Israeli travel to UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt

Amid high-level warning for Turkey, network says security officials cautioning that if Iran gets ‘desperate,’ it could try for an attack on Israelis in other countries

Israelis prepare to fly to Dubai at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, December 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israelis prepare to fly to Dubai at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, December 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

As the threat of an Iranian attack remains high in Turkey, an Israeli television network reported Sunday that top officials are also concerned over travel to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, and Egypt.

Israel has issued a series of repeated harsh warnings to Israeli travelers in recent weeks to avoid visiting Turkey, due to a real and immediate threat of Iranian cells looking to kill or kidnap Israelis. It also said it had foiled attempted attacks with the help of Turkish authorities.

Channel 13 news, citing unnamed Israeli security officials, said Sunday that while the threat in the other destinations is not concrete, dangers could soon emerge if Tehran gets “desperate” to commit an attack.

“I would recommend Israelis not go there, and if they go they should take extra care,” an unnamed diplomatic source was quoted by the outlet as saying.

It was announced Sunday that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is slated to depart on Thursday for a brief trip to Turkey, where he will meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Channel 13 reported on Sunday, without citing a source, that Israeli security officials have visited Turkey in recent days and shared with their Turkish counterparts “very detailed intelligence” that Israel has about Iranian hit squads inside the country.

People take pictures outside the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul’s main tourist attractions in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, July 11, 2020. (Emrah Gurel/AP/File)

Channel 13 also reported that some squads had left Turkey, apparently as a result of disruption efforts by Turkey and Israel, but some agents remain with a clear Iranian directive to kill Israelis. That report too was unsourced.

Since early last week, Israeli officials have been sounding urgent warnings that Iranian terror cells are looking to avenge the killing of a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer in May by targeting Israelis in Turkey.

Senior Israeli officials warned on Friday that there were “concrete” threats that Iran was trying to carry out a terror attack on Israelis in Istanbul over the weekend, and urged all citizens to leave Turkey immediately. It also instructed those who remained in the city to stay in their hotels.

The warnings came amid unverified reports in the Hebrew press that Israeli and Turkish intelligence had together already thwarted several planned attacks by a broad network of Iranian agents, nabbing some of the suspects.

There are currently believed to be some 2,000 Israelis in Turkey.

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