Israel Raises Travel Warning, Urges Its Citizens to Leave Turkey 'As Soon as Possible'

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A security officer near the explosion site in Istanbul, March 19, 2016.
A security officer near the explosion site in Istanbul, March 19, 2016.Credit: AP

Israel issued a travel advisory on Monday urging its citizens to leave Turkey "as soon as possible." This is the second warning to be issued by the counter-terrorism bureau in the Prime Minister's Office in the past week.

The office said that a recent security assessment prompted the counter-terrorism bureau to raise the travel advisory from "level 3," a basic concrete threat, to "level 2," which signifies a high concrete threat.

The travel warning comes days after the Turkish government issued an alert for attacks against Jewish and Christian targets in the country.

Emergency services at the scene of an explosion in Istanbul, Turkey, March 19, 2016.Credit: AP

"The deadly attack in central Istanbul, in which a group of Israeli tourists was hurt, once again demonstrates the high threat in Turkey posed by ISIS elements to tourist sites and shows a high capability to carry out more attacks," the counter-terrorism bureau said in a statement.

The statement noted that the threat exists "throughout Turkey" and specifically mentions a threat to Israeli tourists. "We recommend avoiding visiting Turkey, and to those in the country to leave as soon as possible."

Three Israeli tourists and an Iranian were killed in a suicide bombing in Istanbul more than a week ago by a suspected ISIS militant. Prime Minister Netanyahu said after the attack that Israel was looking into whether it deliberately targeted Israeli nationals.

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