Shin Bet bars basketball team from game in Turkey

Ironi Nahariya’s game against Gaziantep on Syria-Turkey border scrapped due to ‘exceptional’ safety concerns

Ironi Nahariya basketball player Jonathan Skjoldebrand (screen capture/YouTube)
Ironi Nahariya basketball player Jonathan Skjoldebrand (screen capture/YouTube)

The Shin Bet security service said on Wednesday that it had barred the country’s Ironi Nahariya basketball team from playing a Europe Cup match in Turkey, due to “exceptional” safety concerns.

Nahariya had been scheduled to play Gaziantep away in a round of 16 second leg game on February 22, after beating the Turkish side 96-75 in Israel.

Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey, lies near the Syrian border.

Police in the city last week detained four suspected members of the Islamic State group and seized explosives and weapons intended for a “sensational” attack, Turkish news agency Dogan reported.

יוצאים מעט מסביב לחדשות בקשר ליורופקאפ .עירוני נהריה התארחה הערב בביתה של מכבי ראשל"צ למשחק אימון לקראת המשחק הקרוב מול…

Posted by ‎עירוני נהריה כדורסל – הדף הרשמי‎ on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A statement by the Shin Bet said it had worked extensively with the Nahariya club’s management, sporting officials and Turkish security but had failed to find a solution which would allow the game to go ahead.

“In view of the exceptional threat level posed in the region where the game was to take place, it was decided to forbid the delegation from departing,” the Hebrew-language statement said.

The Israeli government warns its citizens against travel to Turkey.

“In light of the high threat level in Turkey, there is an increase in the immediate risk of terror attacks being carried out,” the government’s counter-terrorism bureau says on its website.

It advises citizens “to avoid visits to the country” and for those already there to leave as soon as possible.

read more: