There has been a Jewish community in the region known today as Turkey since at least 500 B.C. While the number of Jews residing within the borders of the Ottoman Empire peaked at nearly a quarter of a million in the early years of the 20th century, presently in the Republic of Turkey the number is hovering at roughly 17,000.
If the ISIS Islamic jihadists get their way, the Jewish population of Turkey will quickly and rather viciously be at zero, and very well starting with the children. As reported by Sam Kiley of Great Britain’s Sky News, and also by Cristina Silva of the International Business Times, both on Mar. 29, 2016, intelligence sources speaking on the grounds of strict anonymity have uncovered advanced plans by ISIS to murder Jewish children in Turkey, specifically targeting kindergartens, schools and youth centers.
In what the intelligence officials are describing as an “imminent” attack was obtained from six captured ISIS “Islamic Caliphate” operatives who were recently captured in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep. The same city is a mere 30 miles from the ISIS controlled region of Syria.
While the largest remaining Jewish enclave in a Muslim nation, most of the Jews living in Turkey are clustered in and around Istanbul. The same anonymous officials have stated, “A synagogue in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district that houses a community center and a school is considered particularly vulnerable to attack.” Chillingly, the unnamed intelligence source also stated, “Undercover and other covert counterterror measures are being implemented around the clock. This is a more than credible threat. This is an active plot.”
Not the first time Islamic jihadists have specifically targeted Jewish children, an al-Qaeda trained Algerian-French 23-year-old petty thief named Mohamed Merah went on a 2012 killing spree at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish School in Toulouse, France. Merah killed four, three of them children, before he was killed by French police.
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As reported by Menachem Gantz of the Tel Aviv-based YNetNews.com news portal, “Jonathan Sandler was the first one to be shot at short range by the killer. He was holding his son Gabriel in his arms. Gabriel was hit and fell to the ground and then [his other son] Arieh followed. According to eye-witnesses, the gun then jammed, temporarily putting a halt to the rampage but the killer swiftly changed weapons and headed into the school.”
Gantz also cited the killing of 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, the daughter of school headmaster Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego. “He [Merah] grabbed Miriam as she tried to escape, grasped her hair and shot her. Then, as she bled to death on the floor, he lifted up her head and fired two additional bullets.”