Israeli foreign ministyer Yair Lapid. FILE PHOTO

Israeli foreign ministyer Yair Lapid

Israel Warns Iran Not To Harm Its Citizens In Turkey


Israel has warned Iran not to harm its citizens who are in Turkey, after a travel advisory for Israelis to avoid visiting the country where Iranian agents are known to operate.

Israel urged its citizens Monday to avoid Istanbul or to return home because of what it said was a threat of Iranian attempts to kill or abduct vacationing Israelis.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said a "huge effort" by Israel's security forces had saved "Israeli lives in recent weeks" and thanked the Turkish government for its contribution.

He did not give further details. An Israeli security official told Reuters Turkey had arrested several suspected "operatives" of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

"We are calling on Israelis not to fly to Istanbul - and if you don't have a vital reason, don't fly to Turkey. If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible," Lapid said in a televised statement.

"These terrorist threats are aimed at vacationing Israelis. They are selecting, in a random but deliberate manner, Israeli citizens with a view to kidnapping or murdering them," he said.

"I want, from here, to relay a message to the Iranians as well. Whoever harms Israelis will not get away with it. Israel's long arm will get them, no matter where they are."

Tehran has vowed to retaliate against Israel, which it blames for the May 22 killing of Hassan Sayyad-Khodaei, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps colonel who was shot dead at the wheel of his car by two people on a motorcycle.

Israel neither confirmed nor denied responsibility, its standard policy over accusations of assassinations. It accused Khodaei of having plotted attacks against its citizens worldwide.

With reporting by Reuters

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