Turkish police denied on Wednesday that they had captured 10 al-Qaeda terrorists who had allegedly planned attacks against Israelis, as reported by Turkish press earlier in the day, while official in Counter-Terrorism Bureau said Israelis should still avoid traveling to southern Turkey.
"As far as I'm concerned, the report is not credible," said official Elkana Har Nof. "We have no basis for determining if the threat has been lifted. I can't send any Israeli citizens to this threatened region as of yet."
Turkish press had said earlier that police had detained 10 al-Qaeda men, including a Syrian citizen who is suspected of designing the bombs that were used in a bombing in Istanbul in 2003 that killed more than 60 people in two synagogues, the British Consulate and a British bank.
The Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned Israeli tourists earlier in the week to avoid southern Turkey due to “serious Islamist threats.” Turkish police had uncovered explosives in the region and warned of terrorist activity in the area.
Four Israeli cruise ships containing about 5,000 tourists en route to Turkey were diverted to Cyprus as a result.
"This is a travel warning, the first we have issued of its kind, which was compiled together with the country its aimed at," he said. "Israel must be notified of the arrests through official channels and not through the media. We'll remove the warning only if we know they have gained control of the matter and there is no ore threat on any Israeli."
He said he had told his own granddaughter to cancel a planned trip to Kemer, one of the cities the bureau had included in its travel alert.