Daesh 'will hit more Israelis' abroad


Following the terrorist attack in Istanbul on Saturday, security experts have warned that attempts to murder Israelis abroad by Daesh are a foregone conclusion.

While it has not been confirmed that the Daesh operative who blew up a group of tourists, including three Israelis, had been targeting citizens of the Jewish state, Yoram Schweitzer, a specialist in jihadist terrorism at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, said: "The idea that Daesh will, in the future, attack Israeli targets abroad is almost a fact."

Mr Schweitzer added: "It's part of Daesh's agenda. It was not clear that they went after Israelis [on Saturday] but, then again, we may have reached this stage already. Either way, it's quite clear that it will happen."

This supports the view held by IDF intelligence that the terror group has plans to attack Israeli targets.

A senior IDF officer said recently that it was "very likely" that Daesh would try to attack an Israeli target abroad this year. "They said they would do it, and they carry out their threats."

Daesh seems to be following in Hizbollah's footsteps

The prevailing view among security officials, however, had been that Daesh would use one of its branches on the Syrian or Egyptian borders to strike Israelis.

If the attack in Istanbul was aimed at Israeli tourists, it would seem that Daesh has reached a similar conclusion to that of Hizbollah: that Israelis abroad are the weak spot in Israel's considerable security set-up.

The 2012 bombing of a bus in Burgas in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver were killed has been attributed to the Lebanese organisation, and was seen as a revenge attack for the assassination of Hizbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh in 2008.

It was initially thought that the suicide bombing in Istanbul, which left one Iranian tourist dead as well as the three Israelis, had primarily targeted Turkey's tourism industry and that the Israelis were random victims.

CCTV footage published by the Turkish media, however, showed the bomber shadowing the group of Israelis from their hotel to a restaurant, where he blew himself up.

This prompted speculation that the attacker - a Daesh recruit, according to the Turkish government - had a good idea who his victims were.

Simcha Damri, Avraham Goldman and Jonathan Shur were the three Israelis killed on the spot. Their bodies were returned home by Israeli Air Force transport on Sunday night. Another 11 Israelis - out of 36 casualties in total - were wounded in the attack and hospitalised in Istanbul.

Despite the friction between Israel and Turkey and a constant barrage of criticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the co-operation between the governments in the wake of the attack was described by both sides as excellent.

In recent months, Israeli tourism in Turkey has picked up, after years in which Israelis kept away. Despite recent terror attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, the Israeli counter-terrorism bureau kept its travel warning on Turkey as "potential threat". On Sunday, it was raised to "concrete threat".

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