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Last week, Moriah Suissa of Israel spoke with Radio 103FM about the travel warnings to Turkey and said that “in her opinion, the media is just trying to pressure Israelis by exaggerating the risk.”

This week, Suissa is b’chasdei Hashem, safely back in Israel, and she admits now that she can’t take that fact for granted. Her terrifying experience in Istanbul proved that the travel warnings were correct, and on Sunday, a chastened Suissa spoke with Radio 103FM again, this time explaining why Israelis should take the travel warnings very seriously.

“Baruch Hashem, all the fear is behind me now,” she said. “As I said last week, I laughed at the media reports, and said I would continue going to the market and tourist spots and that’s what I did.”

“I went to the market in Istanbul and a man who didn’t look Arabic or Iranian followed us into a store and said: ‘Are you from Israel? So am I.’ We didn’t suspect anything and we confirmed we were Israeli but a few seconds later we heard his Arabic accent – Iranian.”

“He spoke Hebrew – they don’t look like terrorists or Arabs. The Turkish storekeeper realized he was Iranian and yelled at him to leave the store. The Iranian yelled back at him that he’s racist. We froze from fear. The Turk said that he knows what’s going on with Israel and told us to stay in the store until the Iranian leaves.”

“We returned to the hotel and there were four Iranians there, they were booking rooms in our hotel. We were frightened. We said we won’t go up to our room until after they go up. They gave us cruel looks and they were definitely talking about us because they were staring at us. The hotel manager asked them where they’re from and they said Iran.”

“We went up to our room and locked the door. We were really frightened but we foolishly decided that we’re going out again. We had already paid to go to a chammam [Turkish steam bath] and ten minutes before our appointment, we decided we’re going and whatever will be will be – total foolishness. We went and returned to the hotel at about 2 a.m. and there were three Iranians waiting outside the hotel. We entered the hotel and they came in right after us.”

“We were trembling from fear. The hotel manager didn’t understand why we weren’t going up to our room. It was a half-hour of complete terror. Two went up to their room and one remained and we thought he was going to murder us that night.”

“I think about all the things I said and I’m really sorry,” Suissa said. “I returned to Israel and I’m constantly looking around in case they followed me to Israel.”

On Sunday, Israel identified the Iranian official leading the attempts to attack Israelis in Turkey, saying that he is “desperate to kill Israelis at all costs.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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