Ankara, Turkey explosion kills over two dozen March 13, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
One day after the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau released a statement warning Israelis at home and abroad to avoid travel to Turkey, the US Embassy in Turkey released its owned statement warning of "credible threats against tourists."
Turkey has been hit by four suicide bombings already this year, the most recent one last month in Istanbul. The attacks have been blamed on the Islamic State militant group.
"The US Mission in Turkey would like to inform US citizens that there are credible threats to tourist areas, in particular to public squares and docks in Istanbul and Antalya," the statements reads.
"Please exercise extreme caution if you are in the vicinity of such areas. For your safety, we urge you to monitor local media," the warning added.
Last month's attack in Istanbul's main shopping district killed three Israelis, two of whom held dual citizenship with the United States, and one Iranian. A separate attack in the city's historic heart in January killed 12 German tourists.
Turkey is facing multiple security threats. As part of a US-led coalition, it is fighting Islamic State in neighboring Syria and Iraq. It is also battling Kurdish militants in its southeast, where a 2-1/2-year ceasefire collapsed last July, triggering the worst violence since the 1990s.
On March 28, Israel upgraded its advisory regarding Turkey, recommending that not only should Israelis not travel to the country, but that Israelis already there should leave immediately.
The bureau, under the direct auspices of the Prime Minister's Office, at that time issued a statement saying that the existing travel warning has been upgraded from a Level 3 warning of a basic concrete threat, to a Level 2 warning of a high concrete threat.
According to a statement issued by the bureau, the Istanbul attack demonstrated again the high level of threat to tourist sites in Turkey from Islamic State, as well as the organization’s capability of carrying out attacks. “The terrorist infrastructure in Turkey continues to advance additional attacks against tourist targets – including Israeli tourists – throughout the country,” the statement read.