updated 8/5/2005 9:41:14 PM ET 2005-08-06T01:41:14

Israel on Friday ordered four of its cruise ships carrying thousands of tourists not to dock at the Turkish port of Alanya after receiving warnings of a possible terrorist attack, officials said.

Israeli Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit gave the order to the cruise vessels not to dock at the Turkish port. Army Radio said the ships were carrying 3,500 Israeli tourists.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev confirmed the ships were rerouted, saying, "There was a warning." He declined to discuss the nature of the warning; Israeli media reported there had been information of a possible al-Qaida attack.

Ships docked overnight
Two of the ships arrived in the Cyprus port of Limassol Friday evening and a third vessel was expected to dock at Larnaca, said the Limassol police chief, Antonis Shakalis.

He said the ships were expected to stay overnight. He added that extra security and police patrols have been ordered for the port. The destination of the fourth ship was not immediately known.

Ronit Kitai, a passenger on one of the ships in Limassol, told Israel's Channel 10 television that passengers were informed of the threat by the ship's staff.

"Everybody accepted the decision with understanding and happiness," Kitai said.

No information from Turkish Interior Ministry
A spokesman for Turkey's Interior Ministry had no information about ships being diverted or any threats in Alanya.

Islamic militants in Turkey affiliated with al-Qaida bombed two synagogues, a London-based bank and the British Consulate in attacks in November 2003, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more. More than 60 people currently are being tried in connection with the attacks.

The suspects said they originally planned to attack an Israeli ship in the Mediterranean, according to the indictment.

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