Security camera footage from an Istanbul restaurant shows the Israeli participants of a culinary trip dining together on Saturday just before they left to sightsee.
As the group strolled down the pedestrian boulevard, an ISIS-linked terrorist detonated a bomb, wounding 11 Israelis and killing three: Avraham Goldman, 69, from Herzliya; Yonatan Suher, 40, from Tel Aviv; and Simcha Damri, 60, from Dimona.
An image of the group having breakfast shows eight Israelis. Ezer, the manager of the restaurant, tld Ynet: “They sat here and were happy. They laughed and had fun. They left and ten minutes later we heard there had been an explosion. It’s sad.” He said that the tour guide, Dudi Califa, who was lightly wounded, was a friend and that he hoped the wounded would recover quickly.
On Sunday morning, hundreds of people began arriving at the spot where the terrorist blew himself up. They held signs expressing solidarity with the victims, scattered flowers, and prayed. At the exact spot of the bombing, a sign saying Am Yisrael Chai was hung, below the flags of Iran and Turkey (both of which had citizens killed or wounded in the bombing.”
“I very much like the Israelis and have no problem with them,” said the owner of shawarma stand adjacent to the location of the bombing. “Fortunately, yesterday at 11 AM it was closed. (What happened to) the Israelis pains me,” he said, pointing at a picture of the three murdered Israelis.
The attack was the first suicide bombing Turkey since the beginning of 2016.
Early Sunday, an IDF plane arrived in Istanbul with forces from the Home Front Command and the Air Force, as well as a mobile operations room and intensive care unit, to return the bodies of the killed Israelis and five wounded Israelis - four in serious condition and one in moderate condition - who were still in Istanbul.
Letter of condolence
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday sent a condolence letter to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
"I was greatly saddened to learn that unfortunately, 3 Israeli citizens also lost their lives and 10 Israeli citizens were wounded at the ignoble terror attack which happened yesterday in Istanbul," read the letter.
"With yesterday's heinous attack, it has again been seen most clearly that it is an absolute necessity for the international community to conduct a joint, united and determined fight against terrorism, which targets the whole of humanity and fundamental human values and constitutes a crime against humanity.
The courage and will displayed by our people against the actions of terrorist organisations which aim to instil fear, give us strength in this struggle.
I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the people of Israel and to the families of Israeli citizens who lost their lives in this treacherous attack which happened in Istanbul, where they were visiting our country to get better acquainted with our culture, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured."