Special to WorldTribune.com
Istanbul residents believed an attack was coming after a similar terrorist strike in Ankara, a leader of Turkey’s Jewish community said.
“This is what everyone was talking about on the street,” said Eyal Peretz, who heads the Arkadash organization. “Everyone talked about how a terror attack was about to happen.”
Three Israelis – two with Israeli-U.S. nationality – and an Iranian were killed in the attack by an Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) jihadist on March 19. Another 36 were injured. Eleven Israelis were among the injured. Two Irish citizens, one national each from Germany, Iceland, Dubai and Iran were also injured.
Few in Turkey were surprised by the attack, Peretz said in an interview with Arutz Sheva. The terrorist attack in Ankara on March 13 killed 37 and left 125 injured.
“Malls that should be full of people were empty,” he said. “The level of tension was very high [ahead of the Istanbul attack]. Everyone talked about how after the attack in Ankara last week, there was bound to be another one in Istanbul.”
Speaking of the roughly 15,000 Jews still living in Turkey, Peretz said that “the Jews there live in fear, but they do have protection for their institutions and synagogues.”
Despite the March 19 bombing attack, Peretz insisted he would continue to travel to Turkey.
“I’ll continue to fly there and strengthen the Jewish community, and I hope that the [diplomatic] tensions [between Israel and Turkey] will end soon and an agreement will be reached with Turkey.”
Meanwhile, Turkish officials on March 20 named the jihadist they said carried out the bombing.
“We have determined that Mehmet Ozturk, born in 1992 in Gaziantep, carried out the heinous attack on Saturday in Istanbul. It has been established that he is a member of Daesh (ISIL).”