Turkish intelligence revealed on Thursday that it thwarted an Iranian IRGC attack against a former Israeli ambassador in Istanbul last Friday.
According to reports, the Iranian IRGC planned to kidnap several Israeli tourists along with diplomats in Istanbul, including the former ambassador and his wife, and already had all operatives and logistical aspects of the operation in place – with some Israelis being spirited away just moments before a hit team would have been bearing down on them.
Turkish intelligence and local police arrested 10 suspects last Friday, including sharpshooters and local collaborators at the Sol Hotel and three others renting apartments in the Istanbul area.
Iranian IRGC intelligence assets and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps operatives impersonated students, businessmen, and tourists to entrap the Israelis.
Turkey said that the Mossad located the targeted Israelis and flew them to Israel in private planes.
Despite the success, senior Israeli officials said that the threat of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Israelis in Turkey remains.
Officials said that there were at least three Iranian cells that had not been arrested and that tracking and arresting them would be a lengthy process.
It is believed that the Islamic Republic is desperate to get its hands on an Israeli somewhere to show the public a victory in the ongoing war between the countries.
The announcement on Thursday came just before Foreign Minister and incoming Prime Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Ankara.
Lapid, who also met with the head of Turkish intelligence, had previously urged citizens in Turkey to leave “as soon as possible” over threats that Iranian spies were actively planning to kill or abduct Israelis in Istanbul.
The stark warning had come amid the latest surge in tensions between Iran and Israel, after a string of attempted attacks on Israelis staying in Turkey.
Israel had reportedly put off issuing the warning for some time to give Turkish authorities a chance to resolve the threat internally.