Turkish security forces at scene of Istanbul attack
Israel's Counter-Terrorism Unit once again upgraded its travel warning to Turkey on Friday, urging Israelis currently in the country "to leave Turkey as soon as possible."
The upgraded and urgent warning, set at level two (indicating a high level, concrete threat) comes on the heels of a warning issued by Turkish authorities a week and a half ago of an ISIS plan to attack Jewish targets in the country, including synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens.
Turkish police arrested six ISIS terrorists in the city of Gaziantep who reportedly planned an attack against the Great Synagogue in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district, which is located alongside a Jewish community center and school.
"This is more than a credible threat, it's an active plot," a Turkish intelligence official told Sky News. He said Turkish police decided to further bolster its security around Jewish institutions as a result.
"We don't know when the attack was planned to occur. It could happen in the next 24 hours or in the next few days," he added.
The Counter-Terrorism Unit decided to issue its call on Israelis to leave Turkey following a recent situation assessment.
"There is an immediate threat of attacks in the country, which, we stress, applies to all tourist destinations in Turkey. The Counter-Terrorism Unit asks Israeli citizens to heed the warning and avoid traveling to Turkey."
Israelis who are already in Turkey are asked avoid crowded tourist destinations, "follow instructions of local authorities, and leave the country as soon as possible," the unit said.
Three weeks ago, three Israelis were murdered in a terrorist bombing in Istanbul: Yonatan Shor, 40, from Tel Aviv; Avi Goldman, 69, from Herzliya; and Simcha Damri, 60, from Dimona. The three were part of a culinary tour group. Eleven other Israelis were wounded. An Iranian national was also murdered, while tourists from Ireland, Germany, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates were also wounded.