Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Sunday Iran from any attempts to attack Israelis in overseas locations, stressing that “whoever sends” such attacks will pay the price.
“We are currently witnessing Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in various overseas locations. The security services of the State of Israel are working to thwart attempted attacks before they are launched,” Bennett said during a cabinet session.
He added: “We will continue to strike those who send the terrorists and those who send them. Our new rule is: Whoever sends – pays.”
The PM mentioned that his government has warned Israeli citizens to avoid flying to Turkey – especially Istanbul – at this time if it is not necessary.
“The danger is still great. I call on the citizens of Israel to show personal responsibility and safeguard their security,” he stressed.
Bennett’s warnings came while security officers told Hebrew media outlets that the Israeli intelligence received reports saying that Hussein Tayeb, head of the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization in Iran, has been identified as leading the effort to target Israelis in Turkey.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened Saturday to act “forcefully” in response to any potential attack on Israelis in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Israeli President Isaac Herzog thanked in a phone call his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for Ankara’s efforts in thwarting attempts to assassinate Israelis in Turkey.
On Sunday, Amos Harel wrote in an opinion published by Haaretz that “behind the scenes, Israeli and Turkish intelligence agencies have been devoting immense efforts in recent weeks to prevent a terror attack against Israeli citizens in Istanbul.”
He said these attempts, which have already chalked up some successes, are particularly difficult this time because Iran’s Revolutionary Guards apparently have no specific target.
According to briefings by Israeli defense officials over the last weekend, there is an impression that the Iranians are so desperate for some achievement that any target is now legitimate in their view.
Thus, Harel wrote, “the protective umbrella cannot focus only on diplomats, or even on businessmen, but must include almost every Israeli now in Turkey.”
Meanwhile, former Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin said that after Iran failed to target Israeli scientists or officers, Tehran lowered the ceiling of its goals, by deciding to kill or kidnap any Israeli or Jewish person.