Turkey announced Thursday that it had arrested 33 al-Qaida terror suspects in a plot to target Israelis and others.
Ankara announced that anti-terrorism police had arrested 33 al-Qaida-linked suspects who had been planning attacks on Israeli, US and NATO targets in the country. The arrests took place in simultaneous raids in the cities of Van, Erzurum, Konya, Batman and Istanbul. The police did not say which facilities or missions were to have been targeted.
Al-Qaida-linked terrorists killed 58 people in Istanbul in 2003, in suicide bombings against the British Consulate, a British bank and two synagogues.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon praised the arrests and said they proved Ankara's commitment to the war on terror.
Speaking to Army Radio, Ayalon said it demonstrated the "mutual interests between Turkey and Israel and between Turkey and the Western world in general."
Another government official said that Israeli-Turkish intelligence cooperation was strong and continuing, despite the recent chill in relations. At the same time, the official said it was a bit "odd" that the announcement came out on the same day Israel summoned the Turkish official to protest the television show.