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Gantz vows to respond 'forcefully' to any Iranian attack on Israelis

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, on January 20, 2022 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, on January 20, 2022 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz has pledged to respond "forcefully" to any Iranian attack on Israeli citizens in Turkiye or any other part in the world, local media reported on Saturday.

According to the Times of Israel, senior Israeli officials warned of "concrete" threats that Iran is trying to kill or otherwise harm Israelis in Istanbul. They are urging citizens to leave Turkiye immediately if possible, or stay in their hotel rooms.

"I call on all Israelis in Turkiye to obey the instructions of the security forces," Gantz said in a statement published by his office on Saturday evening. "Israel is working to thwart Iranian attempts to carry out an attack, and is preparing to respond forcefully to any attack on Israeli citizens, anywhere."

The warnings came after a week in which Israel urged its citizens in Turkiye to return immediately, and issued its highest possible security warning for Istanbul.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pledged that the new rule for retaliation would be that the side which carries out the attack would be the loser.

Senior Israeli security officials believe that there are 2,000 Israelis in Turkiye. They noted that the figure last week was 5,000.

The developments related to the safety of Israelis in Turkiye came after repeated threats that Iran would seek revenge for Israel's assassination of its nuclear scientists. The latest of these was Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, who was assassinated in Tehran on 22 May.

READ: Iran deals continuous secret blows to Israel

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