Rivlin: Israel very concerned over ISIS threat to Turkish Jews

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday expressed deep concern over a report that the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) is planning to massacre Jewish school children in Turkey.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials, Britain's Sky TV reported on Monday that ISIS "terrorists" have advanced plans to "murder Jewish children in Turkey, targeting kindergartens, schools and youth centers."

The report came on the same day that Israel advised its citizens to leave Turkey "as soon as possible," warning of the risk of jihadist attacks.

In a phone conversation with the president of the Turkey's Jewish community, Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, Rivlin said he was concerned over reports of threats to the community.

"We are very worried about the information we are receiving, and following the situation closely with the relevant authorities in Israel and Turkey," Rivlin said in a statement, which appeared to be the first official recognition of the latest threats, if only implicitly.

The offices of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Turkey's foreign ministry have declined to comment on the Sky report.  

Three Israelis were among four people killed in a March 19 suicide bombing in Istanbul.

An Iranian was also killed and 39 people wounded when a man blew himself up on a shopping street in the heart of the city.

The Turkish government said the bomber had links to ISIS.

The Israeli president also thanked Ibrahimzadeh for the aid provided by the Turkish Jewish community to Israeli tourists affected by the attack.

"I would like to emphasize my gratitude to the Jewish community for all you did for those who were injured, and for your outreach to the families of those who lost their loved ones," Rivlin said. "Thank you for your care, you reminded us that 'all Jews are brothers'."

According to the president's office İbrahimzadeh thanked Rivlin for his words, and expressed his own gratitude to the State of Israel for its solidarity.

"Thank you very much. Hopefully we shall overcome this soon and return to normal life. We appreciate this offer and the solidarity of the State of Israel very much," he said.

ISIS has been blamed for four bombings that have rocked Turkey in the past eight months, including a massacre at a peace rally in the capital Ankara in October that claimed 103 lives.

Sky reported on its website that unidentified "intelligence officials" said that a fresh attack was imminent, based on information from six ISIS terrorist operatives arrested in southern Turkey.  

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210064

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