Israel temporarily closes diplomatic missions in Turkey due to Hezbollah threats

ANKARA, TURKEY: Israel on Thursday temporarily closed diplomatic missions in the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul due to threats by Hezbollah, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

The Israeli Embassy in Ankara and the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul were shut down and their functions suspended. The staff of the missions are still working but from home as security measures.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry reported Wednesday that four Israeli embassies were temporarily closed in response to threats against Israeli targets overseas in Turkey, Egypt, Georgia, Venezuela, Armenia, the Ivory Coast, Mali and Mauritania.

The warning erupted after Hezbollah threatened Israel that it will avenge the murder of Imad Mughniyah on the third anniversary of his death. Mughniyah was killed when his car exploded in 2008. Hezbollah blamed Israel for the assassination.

Israeli embassies around the world were set on heightened alert after the Israel Counter Terrorism Bureau issued a warning Friday morning to Israeli travelers and Jews overseas.

"There is a threat directed against Israeli targets. Authorities in Israel and abroad are working closely to tackle the recent situations," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levi.

Israel issued a similar warning in 2010 in the eve of the second anniversary of the death of Mughniyah. However, this is the first time it closed its diplomatic missions in Turkey.


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