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Turkey releases jailed Israeli couple accused of espionage



An Israeli couple jailed in Istanbul for suspicion of espionage was released by Turkey and returned to Israel on Thursday, according to a joint statement by Israeli prime minister and foreign minister.

“After joint efforts with Turkey, Mordi and Natali Oknin were released from prison and are on their way home to Israel,” the statement said.

Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister, Yair Lapidexpressed their gratitude to Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government “for their cooperation.”

Photos released by the Israel Airports Authorityshowed the couple arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv in central Israel.

Mr Bennett published on his Twitter account a photo of the couple hugging their son and daughter at the exit of the plane and wrote: “Welcome home.”

The couple were arrested for espionage last Friday after taking photos of the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul while taking a tour on a ferry.

Parts of the building are used as the Istanbul office of President Erdogan.

After the arrest, Mr Lapid denied that the couple worked for any “Israeli agency.”


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