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FM Lapid thanks Türkiye for thwarting assassination plot against Israeli tourists

Turkish and Israeli security units had prevented attacks against Israeli nationals in Turkey, the two countries' foreign ministers said on Thursday. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanked Turkey for coordinating the efforts during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara.

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published June 23,2022

Israel's incoming prime minister on Thursday thanked Türkiye for thwarting an Iranian assassination plot against its tourists in Istanbul that prompted an urgent call for the Jewish state's citizens to return home.

The comments from Israel's visiting Foreign Minister Yair Lapid -- set to assume the head of a caretaker government in the coming days -- came after Türkiye reported detaining eight members of the alleged Iranian cell.

"We are full of appreciation for the Turkish government for this professional and coordinated activity," Lapid said after talks in Ankara designed to highlight warming in relations between the two occasional regional rivals.

"We're not only talking about the murder of innocent Israeli tourists, but also a clear violation of Turkish sovereignty by Iranian terror," said Lapid.

"We are confident that Türkiye knows how to respond to the Iranians on this matter."

Türkiye's private IHA news agency said the eight alleged Iranian cell members were detained in a raid last week in three houses in Istanbul's popular Beyoğlu district -- an area filled with cafes and bars.

Israel last week urged its citizens to leave Türkiye because of the "real and immediate danger" coming from Iranian operates.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war but tensions have ratcheted up following a string of high-profile incidents Tehran has blamed on Israel.

The Islamic republic claimed Israel was responsible for the killing of Revolutionary Guards Colonel Sayyad Khodai in his Tehran home on May 22.

IHA said Iran sent agents disguised as businessmen and tourists to Istanbul to assassinate Israelis in retaliation for Khodai's murder and other attacks.

"The hitmen in the assassination team, who settled in two separate rooms on the second and fourth floors of a hotel in Beyoğlu, were (detained) with a large number of weapons and ammunition," IHA said.

The Revolutionary Guard said Thursday it was replacing its veteran intelligence chief in the wake of Khodai's killing and other attacks.

Two other senior Guard members have also died -- one in a reported accident and the other in a shooting -- in the past month.