Istanbul bombing preceded by unusual warnings by Israeli
Italian daily Corriere della Sera reports that May's Istanbul
bombing may have been attempt by Hezbollah and Iran to assassinate
Israeli envoy in Turkey.
By Amos Harel and Saviona Mane
Tags: Hezbollah Israel Turkey
The explosion near an Istanbul market in May, which according to an
Italian daily may have been an attempt by Hezbollah and Iran to
assassinate an Israeli envoy in Turkey, had been preceded by unusual
warnings by Israeli intelligence.
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a number of travel warnings,
noting that terrorists are planning to target Israelis and Jews
abroad. The announcement referred to specific countries, including
Turkey, Greece, Malta and Cyprus.
Istanbul bombing, May 26, 2011.
Photo by: AP
A senior official provided details on both Hezbollahs attacks
outside of Israel, which rely heavily on aid from Iran, as well as
the names of those in charge of the latest assassination attempt.
Israel fears that Hezbollah is plotting attacks to avenge the death
of Imad Mughaniyah, who was killed in Damascus in 2008, as well as
the death of two nuclear physicists in Tehran in December 2009, and
December 2010, respectively.
Iran and Hezbollah blame Israel for the aforementioned deaths,
although Israel does not take responsibility for them. A Haaretz
report released earlier this year stated that Israeli security
services believe that Iran is likely to seek revenge for the killing
of the physicists.
The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Monday that the bomb
that exploded near an Istanbul market in May, injuring six, may have
been an attempt by Hezbollah and Iran to assassinate Israel's consul
general to Istanbul.
Until now Turkish authorities had assumed that members of the
Kurdish resistance group, the PKK, were behind the booby-trapped
scooter that exploded on May 26.
The Italian newspaper, basing its story on "Middle Eastern sources,"
reported Monday that the target of the attack was Moshe Kimchi,
Israel's consul to Istanbul. It said the explosives were placed by
three men who have ties to Iranian intelligence. The assassination
attempt was meant to be in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian
nuclear scientist in Tehran in November 2010, which Iran attributes
to the Mossad.
The attempt on Kimchi, the report says, failed because of the
security measures protecting the Israeli diplomat and the local
"It appears that the mission was carried out by three Lebanese
members of Hezbollah who entered the country with 'clean' Iranian
passports, and received local logistical support," the report states.
According to a Washington-based source quoted by the newspaper, the
agents went to Turkey from Beirut using Iranian passports and had
the Israeli consul under surveillance for some time. They studied
the route taken by Kimche from his home to his office for many days
According to the report, on the day of the attack, Kimchi's car
drove slower than usual and he was uninjured. No group claimed
responsibility for the attack. The predominant assumption in Turkey
was that it was the work of the PKK, and was intended to affect the
upcoming Turkish parliamentary elections.
Intelligence sources in Ankara denied the report in the Italian
daily, calling it Israeli propaganda. "Israel releases false
information once in a while for disinformation purposes," the source