Istanbul Bomber Did Not Specifically Target Israelis, Anti-terror Bureau Says

The travel advisory for Turkey remains in place despite the new security assessment.

Israeli soldiers and medics load the bodies of three Israeli into a military plane at Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul, Sunday, March 20, 2016.
AP

The suicide bomber who killed three Israeli tourists in Istanbul last month did not specifically target Israelis but was taking aim at tourism in Turkey in general, Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau said on Sunday.

In response to a query from Haaretz, the bureau noted that it has always maintained that it had no information indicating the attack was specifically directed against Israelis. 

Unconfirmed Turkish reports identify the Istanbul terrorist as 33-year-old Savaş Yulduz
YouTube

Unconfirmed reports in Turkey following the bombing insinuated that the attacker, identified by Turkish officials as an Islamic State-linked militant, had trailed Israeli tourists before blowing himself up. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even said Israel was looking into the possibility that Israelis were the attack's target.

The anti-terror bureau, which is nested within the Prime Minister's Office, recently issued a travel advisory for Turkey, warning Israelis to leave as soon as possible and avoid traveling there. The travel advisory remains in place despite the new security assessment.

The bureau told AP that security agencies carried out a month-long investigation into the blast, which took place next to an Israeli culinary tour group and also killed an Iranian tourist.

People light candles at the site of a blast on Istiklal Street, a major shopping and tourist district, in central Istanbul on March 19, 2016.
AFP