Turkey has reportedly apprehended eight people working with Iran to reportedly target and assassinate Israeli tourists in Istanbul.
The eight people, including some who were not Iranians, were arrested last week in the Beyoglu area, according to IHA news agency.
The news comes as Israel has warned its citizens not to visit Turkey due to recent potential threat from Iran within the nation. The arrests reveal that the seriousness of the warnings, particularly in Turkey’s capital city.
“The hitmen in the assassination team, who settled in two separate rooms on the second and fourth floors of a hotel in Beyoglu, were [detained] with a large number of weapons and ammunition,” according to the IHA news agency.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is expected to soon become the interim prime minister, is traveling to Turkey to meet with leaders for more details regarding the events.
The trip was scheduled ahead of the announcement regarding Israel dissolving the Knesset and a new round of elections. New elections are expected in the fall, with Nov. 1 noted as a likely date.
Iranian sources have noted that the targets in Turkey are in response to the deaths of Iranian officers in Iran that have been blamed on Israel. Two Quds Force colonels died within two weeks in or near Tehran.
One of the two men was Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei. He was reportedly shot five times in a car outside of his home in Tehran. The shooters were described as two men on a motorbike.
After Iran blamed Israel for the incidents, Israel raised the alert level at embassies in response. The matter has become more serious in Turkey, where Israel has advised against travel and has now seen multiple arrests in an assassination plot.