Terror attack in Turkey

March 21, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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A team from Israel is now in Istanbul following Saturday’s terror attack which claimed the lives of five people including three Israelis, an Iranian and the bomber himself.

11 other Israeli nationals were among the 36 injured.

ZAKA team on its way

ZAKA team on its way

A ZAKA emergency response team left Israel for Istanbul as soon as Shabbat was out to assist the victims of the attack

After a long night, the five-member team from ZAKA International Rescue Unit completed their mission of identifying the three Israeli victims of the Istanbul terror attack and the bodies are on their way back to Israel for burial.
The ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation, headed by Commander Mati Goldstein, left for Turkey immediately after Shabbat. On arrival, the ZAKA volunteers connected with Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, the rabbi of the local Ashkenazi community and the President of the local Jewish community Rabbi Yitzhak Ibrahim Zada.
After clearing the scene of the terror site of human remains, the ZAKA volunteers were taken to complete the long and difficult task of identifying the three Israeli victims – Yonathan Suher, Simha Dimri and Avraham Goldman. The remains were wrapped in ZAKA body bags, placed in coffins and are now en route back to Israel in an IAF plane.
Bringing the bodies home to Israel Photo: ZAKA

Bringing the bodies home to Israel Photo: ZAKA

ZAKA International Rescue Unit Commander Mati Goldstein: “After Shabbat, we began organizing a team to head out to Turkey, our delegation consists of five volunteers. We took all the necessary equipment with us for the mission of collecting and identifying the bodies. On arrival, we went immediately to the site of the terror attack, where we cleared the scene of human remains.”

Goldstein continued: “From there, we went to the place where the bodies had been taken. There, we worked all night on the painstaking task of identifying the remains. On completion of the mission, we accompanied the bodies to the airport where a ceremony took place in honor of the murdered victims. We are returning to Israel with the bodies.”
ZAKA volunteers are ready to receive the bodies on arrival this morning at Ben Gurion airport.
ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav praised the work of the team: “ZAKA’s bitter experience of dealing with the tragic aftermath of major international disasters has once again been tested, and has once again proved successful. Within less than 24 hours, the ZAKA volunteers managed to identify the bodies and prepare them for return to Israel and a full Jewish burial.”

Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin said: “The heart aches for the victims who lost their lives in the horrific terrorist bombing in the heart of Istanbul. We send our condolences to the families in mourning, pray for the well-being of the injured and hope for their swift return to Israel.

“More and more innocent people are losing their lives in the shadow of the insatiable terrorism and extremism which plagues the world.

“May the hands of the search and rescue teams be strengthened, along with the representatives of the Foreign Ministry in Israel and in Turkey, in their efforts to bring relief and information to the worried families.”

Earlier in the day before numbers were accurately known, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “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.”

The Israeli government has issued a warning against travelling to Turkey at this time. The warning states: “Following an assessment of the situation in wake of the worsening magnitude of terrorist attacks in Turkey, in centers of tourism and crowded areas, especially yesterday’s attack in Istanbul in which Israeli citizens were murdered and wounded, and due to the concern of additional attacks, the NSCCTB upgrades its existing travel warning and recommends that the public avoid visiting Turkey.”

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