Turkish intelligence busts Iranian terror cell targeting Israelis

Wife of a retired Israeli diplomat reportedly among those targeted.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) arrested an eight-man cell working on behalf of the Iranian secret service to target Israelis in the country, Turkish media reported Thursday.

The cell members were caught last Thursday with weapons and ammunition during a raid on an Istanbul hotel and three separate rental homes where they were staying at.

The assassination team, consisting of four separate cells of two people, was shadowed by the MIT for two months.

It is believed that the cell was preparing to attack the wife of a retired Israeli diplomat whose name was kept secret for security reasons. Furthermore, the members of the armed assassination network — disguised as students, businessmen and tourists — closely monitored the activities of Israeli groups sent the information to Tehran.

According to Turkish media reports, not all of the eight are Iranian nationals.

News of the arrests were published as Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was one his way to Turkey to meet his counterpart Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the latest phase in the warming ties between Jerusalem and Ankara.

Israel has repeatedly warned that Israeli tourists in Istanbul are under an immediate threat of a terrorist attack by Iranian agents, and has called on all Israelis to leave Turkey immediately.

Iran is expected to retaliate for the deaths of a number of scientists and officers in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps over several weeks. It’s widely believed that Israel has been behind the attacks, but Jerusalem has not confirmed its involvement.

Israel’s defense establishment is closely monitoring Iran’s official threats for revenge and has stepped up alertness and security in all Jewish and Israeli institutions around the world.

World Israel News staff contributed to this report.