Report: Two Iranians Detained in Turkey on Suspicion of Planning Attack on Israelis

Although Israel downgraded Istanbul's threat level after a string of arrests last month, it warns of the possibility of future attacks

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A Turkish police officer stands guard in front of Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2016.
A Turkish police officer stands guard in front of Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2016. Credit: Osman Orsal, Reuters

Turkish authorities arrested two Iranian citizens suspected of planning to assassinate Israeli citizens on its soil, Turkey's Sabah newspaper reported Friday.

In June, Israel's National Security Council raised the travel warning for Istanbul to its highest level 4, calling on the Israelis staying in Istanbul to leave as soon as possible, fearing attacks by Iranian operatives.

During that time, Turkey arrested eight people accused of planning attacks against Israelis in the country. According to the report, only one suspect has been released so far.

The arrests were carried out after authorities discovered the Iranian cell conducting gathering intelligence around a hotel in Taksim Square in Istanbul. The Turkish security forces also found three pistols, silencers and ammunition in the possession of the suspects.

The head of the National Security Council's intelligence unit, Yossi Adler, later downgraded Istanbul's threat level from 4 to 3, bringing it in line with the travel warning level for the rest of the country.

Level 3 still implies some danger, and Israelis are advised against any non-essential travel to Turkey, citing "the possibility of further Iranian efforts to carry out attacks there in the future."

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