Narrow escape: Israeli women were inches away from terrorist bomber in Istanbul

“It was truly horrifying — people slammed against the walls, missing their heads and limbs.. Nightmarish,” said an Israeli witness.

By World Israel News Staff

Two Israeli women visiting Turkey were shocked to see themselves captured on security footage walking just inches away from the terrorist suspected of planting a bomb in a central district of Istanbul on Sunday, triggering an explosion which killed at least six people and wounded 81.

Sisters-in-law Or Etetgi and Natalie Suissa, both residents of the southern coastal city of Ashdod, were surprised after a widely publicized screenshot of a security video showed them within arm’s length of the young woman whom police say executed the terror attack.

Etetgi’s husband Liron told Mako News that his wife had phoned after seeing an image of the terrorist on TV and recognizing herself standing nearby.

She said it was a “miracle” that they had chosen to stop and eat shawarma, and that the decision – which put critical distance between the two Israeli women and the bomb – may have saved their lives.

The Israeli women were temporarily deafened by the explosion, and both had anxiety attacks after returning to the hotel. They cut their trip short and immediately flew back to Israel.

Read  Bomb rocks Istanbul; authorities say 6 dead, dozens wounded

Government officials told the state-owned Andalou news agency that the suspect is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant group pushing for autonomous Kurdish self-rule that has been classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey.

The suspect’s name has not been revealed by Turkish authorities.

The deadly blast occurred on Istiklal Avenue, a central shopping and entertainment district in the heart of Turkey’s capital city. Several Israeli tourists who were present at the time of the explosion relayed the horror of the scene to Hebrew-language Channel 12 News.

“It was a terrible explosion. It’s impossible to describe what happened there,” said Osnat, who was staying at a restaurant alongside her family and other Israeli tourists at the scene.

“It was truly horrifying — people slammed against the walls, missing their heads and limbs.. Nightmarish,” she said. “There were many, many wounded people.”

Avi, another Israeli who was nearby, described mass panic and confusion on the densely packed street.

“Thousands of people were running amok,” he told Channel 12 News. “We saw a lot of blood, a lot of wounded people, who weren’t being helped.”

The casualties included elderly people, children, and pregnant women.

Herzog, Lapid send condolences

“Shaken by news of the despicable bombing in Istanbul targeting innocent civilians. On behalf of the Israeli people, I extend our deepest sympathies to our Turkish friends and the victims’ families. The whole world must stand united and firm against terror,” said Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Read  Bomb rocks Istanbul; authorities say 6 dead, dozens wounded

“On behalf of the Government of Israel, I send my condolences to the people of Turkey following today’s heinous terrorist attack in Istanbul,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated.

“I also send strength to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government. Together, we will forcefully fight terror everywhere it rears its head.”