Turkish media published more details and photos of the hiding place on the outskirts of Istanbul used by the Iranian agents who planned to kidnap a former Israeli ambassador and other Israelis, Maariv reported on Friday.
The raid on the apartment lasted for four hours. “It was a like a James Bond movie,” a source said.
Turkish and Israeli intelligence agents worked together to rescue the Israelis from the clutches of the Iranians, and in some cases, the rescues were dramatic – seconds before the Iranians were about to get their hands on them. The Iranians also reportedly planned to use sniper rifles to accomplish their nefarious goals.
Also on Thursday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Turkish counterpart as well as with Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization. An Israeli official said that the fact that Lapid held a meeting at Turkey’s intelligence headquarters and publicly met with Fiden are rare measures intended as a message to Iran about the strong cooperation between Jerusalem and Ankara.
“Fidan stays in the background, he doesn’t like to be exposed in connection with Israel,” the source said. “The meeting is a testimony to the unprecedented cooperation between Israel and Turkey.”
The source added that “there is an open crisis between Turkey and Iran. The Turks have already twice canceled the Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Turkey.”
A source familiar with the operation foiling the kidnapping of a former Israeli ambassador and other Israelis referred to the dismissal of the head of the intelligence unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Taeb, minutes after Turkey published the announcement of the thwarted attack. “This was an unprecedented operation by the Mossad with the shaming of the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence organization, who was fired at the end of the process,” he said, referring to the fact that Israeli intelligence officials publicized Taeb’s name and photo last week.
During the visit, Turkish officials asked Lapid to remove the severe travel warning, since they claim that it has led to a decrease in tourism from other countries apart from Israel. Since Israel believes that there are still some Iranian terrorist cells in Turkey, security officials are wary about removing the warning but there is discussion of decreasing the level of the travel warning in coming days, subject to some steps that still need to be completed.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)