Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that Israel and Turkey have already thwarted several attempts by “Iran-backed terrorists” to attack Israelis and arrested suspects.
“The operational efforts with the Turkish security forces have borne fruit. In recent days, in a joint Israeli-Turkish effort, we thwarted a number of terrorist attempts and numerous terrorists were arrested on Turkish ground,” Bennett said according to the Jerusalem Post.
“We are continuing to work together with the goal of bringing the situation in Turkey and Israeli tourism back to normal. We have to finish the counterterrorism operations,” Bennett added.
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“The days in which [Iran] funded terror, equips terrorists, trains and sends them, and is left unscathed is over. Now, the one sending [terrorists] pays. We will go anywhere we need to.”
Last week, Israel warned its citizens against traveling to Turkey, citing the danger of possible Iranian “revenge attacks” after the assassination of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Colonel Sayad Khodai.
Tensions between the two countries have heightened in recent weeks amid a shadow war where Israel targets Iran’s military personnel and officials and scientists related to the country’s nuclear program, and Iran retaliates by targeting Israelis abroad.
Biden’s visit to region
US President Joe Biden is set to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia next month.
Bennett said: “The central goal of [Biden’s] visit [to Israel next month] is to lock down a clear shared plan of action… to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.”
The West’s negotiations to revive the abandoned 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been stalled for months. Israel has largely opposed any deal with its arch enemy Iran.
“In the short term, Israel wants to stop Iran from continuing to enrich uranium and develop a nuclear bomb through diplomatic and other tools,” Bennett said.
He added: “Iran will come to understand that at the moment, in the no-deal reality, we won. We had a goal for there not to be an agreement… but at the same time there was to be a stop sign in front of Iran.”
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