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Israel shuts down four of its diplomatic missions abroad

world Updated: Feb 18, 2011 02:44 IST
Lebanon

Fearing attack from Lebanon's Hezbollah, Israel has temporarily shut down four of its diplomatic missions abroad, a media report said on Thursday.

The Israeli embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul were among the missions shut down after Hezbollah threatened to avenge the murder of its commander Imad Mughniyah on the third anniversary of his death, Turkey's Milliyet newspaper reported.

Mughniyah was killed when his car exploded in 2008 in Syria and Hezbollah blames Israel for his assassination, despite denials by the Jewish state of any involvement.

Israeli embassies around the world were on high alert after Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatened yesterday that his group would take over Israel's northern Galilee region in the next war and will also take vengeance for Mughniyeh's death.

Israel's Counter Terrorism Bureau issued a warning tonight to Israeli travelers in anticipation of threats resulting from the anniversary of the assassination.

The bureau cautioned the Israeli public that because of the increased threat of terror attacks against Israelis abroad, travel to certain destinations should be avoided, including Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania and Venezuela.

Israelis were also being discouraged from traveling in the near future to hotspots marked by their high concentration and strongly advised to adhere to security guidelines from local authorities.