First Published: 2017-02-22

Israel lifts ban on basketball team playing in Turkey
Ironi Nahariya head for Turkey to play round of 16 second leg match against Gaziantep after ban over potential threats is lifted.
Middle East Online

Israeli government advises citizens not to travel to Turkey

JERUSALEM - Israel's Ironi Nahariya basketball team was headed for Turkey for a Europe Cup match on Wednesday despite concerns over potential threats, said an Israeli security agency which initially opposed the trip.

Nahariya was set to play Gaziantep away in a round of 16 second leg game on February 22, after beating the Turkish side 96-75 in Israel.

Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey, lies near the Syrian border.

Earlier this month, police in Gaziantep detained four suspected members of the Islamic State jihadist group and seized explosives and weapons intended for a "sensational" attack, Turkish news agency Dogan reported.

Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency said last week that despite efforts with Israeli and Turkish officials, the "exceptional threat level posed in the region" forced them to ban the team from travelling.

The sports ministry, however, appealed the decision, following which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to allow the team to travel, a Shin Bet spokesman said.

The spokesman said the threat level had not changed but that the agency would provide the delegation security in coordination with local forces.

Sports Minister Miri Regev, travelling with the delegation, said she was happy they managed to overcome the difficulties, thanking the Israeli and Turkish security services for their efforts.

Under a travel advisory, the Israeli government has advised its citizens not to visit Turkey "in light of the high threat level".


Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS

Isolated US defiant at UN Security Council

Putin to visit Turkey for talks on Jerusalem, Syria

Protests sweep Muslim world over Jerusalem

US urges Saudi to show caution in regional disputes

Thousands march in Istanbul to protest US Jerusalem move

Bahrain Shiite leader undergoes surgery

Malaysians, Indonesians protest US move on Jerusalem

EU, Jordan voice backing for Palestinian state

Clashes in West Bank over US Jerusalem move

Macron appeals for calm over US Jerusalem embassy move

World leaders to 're-legitimise' Lebanon PM at Paris talks