Israel bars basketball team from Turkey away game
JERUSALEM – Agence France-PresseIsrael’s domestic security service said on Feb. 15 it had barred the country’s Ironi Nahariya basketball team from playing a Europe Cup match in Turkey, due to “exceptional” safety concerns.
Nahariya had been scheduled to play Gaziantep away in a round of 16 second leg game on Feb. 22, after beating the Turkish side 96-75 in Israel.
Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey, lies near the Syrian border.
Police in the city last week detained four suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and seized explosives and weapons intended for a “sensational” attack, Doğan News Agency reported.
A statement by Israel’s Shin Bet security service said it had worked extensively with the Nahariya club’s management, sporting officials and Turkish security but had failed to find a solution which would allow the game to go ahead.
“In view of the exceptional threat level posed in the region where the game was to take place, it was decided to forbid the delegation from departing,” the Hebrew-language statement said.
The Israeli government warns its citizens against travel to Turkey.
“In light of the high threat level in Turkey, there is an increase in the immediate risk of terror attacks being carried out,” the government’s counter-terrorism bureau says on its website.
It advises citizens “to avoid visits to the country” and for those already there to leave as soon as possible.