Counter-terrorism bureau advises citizens as bodies of three Israelis killed in suicide attack brought back home
Israel has warned against travel to Turkey as the bodies of three of its nationals killed in a suicide bombing in Istanbul on Saturday were airlifted home.
Israels counter-terrorism bureau urged its citizens to rule out any travel to Turkey after a suicide bombing tore through Istiklal Street, a shopping precinct in central Istanbul, leaving the three Israelis, an Iranian and the bomber dead and another 36 wounded.
The advice was upgraded from a level four warning of potential attacks to a level two warning of concrete attacks.
A statement from the prime ministers office noted that there had been a rise in the threat level of attacks in Turkey in the past two months, with the number of suicide bombings carried out by the Kurdish PKK and Islamic State on the rise.
The Turkish interior minister on Sunday identified the bomber as Mehmet Ozturk, who it said was a militant with Islamic State and a resident of the southern Turkish border town of Gaziantep.
On Saturday night, an Israeli military rescue mission landed in Istanbul. On board were members of the air force, military and medical corps, together with an emergency room and operating theatre. Eleven of the 36 wounded were Israelis.
The families of Jonathan Shor, 40, Simha Damari, 60 and Avraham Goldman, 69, were flown to Istanbul to identify their bodies.
In an emotional video in Istanbul, family members stood beside Israeli military personnel in salute as the caskets of the three Israelis killed in the blast were placed on board the Hercules on Sunday.
As the Hercules touched down at Ben Gurion airport on Sunday afternoon, Israeli military personnel lifted the three coffins, each draped in the Israeli star of David flag, from the aircraft.
Five other Israelis wounded in the same attack arrived back in Israel on Sunday afternoon. Another five wounded Israelis, including one woman in a critical condition, remained in hospitals in Istanbul where Israeli medical staff from Magen David Adom (the Israeli Red Cross) were to monitor their care.