The Foreign Ministry Director General spoke with his Turkish counterpart and, naturally, we are trying to clarify things in the intelligence sphere. We currently have no confirmation that this terrorist incident was directed at Israelis.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Saturday, 19 March 2016), went to the Foreign Ministry situation room where he was updated on activity with the Turkish authorities regarding the wounded and those who were killed. He then issued the following statement:
"During the day I received updates about what happened in Istanbul. We can say with certainty that, sadly, two Israeli citizens were killed. It could be that there is a third victim. The two families have been updated; I send them condolences on behalf of the entire Jewish people. There are approximately eleven people who were wounded, the degree of their injuries varies, and we are dealing with them. I directed the dispatch of two planes – one from MDA and one from the IDF – in order to bring them, and the deceased, of course, back to Israel.
We are in contact with the Turkish authorities. I asked that our presence be increased. This evening there will be approximately 15 of our representatives in Istanbul; the Foreign Ministry Director General is on his way there. We are in contact with the Turkish government. The Foreign Ministry Director General spoke with his Turkish counterpart and, naturally, we are trying to clarify things in the intelligence sphere. We currently have no confirmation that this terrorist incident was directed at Israelis.
We know that there are those who have yet to make contact; we are trying to locate them. At the moment it does not seem that they were part of this event but things will certainly become clearer later on. Foreign Ministry personnel, including those here in the situation room, are working constantly and will work around the clock in order to bring the people back to Israel and in order to give full support at this difficult time. I am certain that all Israelis join me in the hope for recovery for the wounded and in expressing condolences to the families of those who were murdered."