The Turkish government is hosting Hamas terrorists on its soil and permitting them to plan terror attacks on Israeli targets, a report released by The Telegraph Tuesday night claims.
According to the report, transcripts of Israeli police interrogations of terrorists show that senior Hamas terrorists are using Istanbul as a center for the terror group’s operations abroad. Terrorist leaders operating out of Turkey’s largest city direct Hamas activities in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, the report added, including the foiled plot to assassinate the mayor of Jerusalem.
Senior Hamas terrorist Zacharia Najib plotted an assassination attack in Jerusalem, pressing 23-year-old terrorist Adham Muselmani, a Jerusalem Arab who had been recruited for the attack, to target either then-Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, then-MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), or then-Police Chief Roni Alsheich.
The plot was later foiled after Muselmani returned to Jerusalem and tried to purchase a pistol for the attack, only to be arrested by Israeli authorities.
While Israel has discussed Hamas’ operations on Turkish soil with Turkey’s government, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to crackdown on Hamas terrorists in his country, or even to interfere with their plots against Israel.
Last weekend, Erdogan met with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyah, vowing to continue support for the terror group.
“We will keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine.”
Turkey’s tacit support for Hamas violates a 2015 US-brokered deal with Israel, in which Turkey agreed to block Hamas from plotting attacks on Israel from Turkish soil.
“Israel is extremely concerned that Turkey is allowing Hamas terrorists to operate from its territory, in planning and engaging in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, according to The Telegraph report.
Hamas first set up its so-called “West Bank and Jerusalem Headquarters” in Istanbul in 2011, following its expulsion from Damascus early on in the Syrian civil war.
The terror group’s operations in Turkey expanded dramatically in 2013, and a dozen high-profile Hamas terrorists have moved from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to Istanbul over the past year, Israeli and Egyptian intelligence records show.
One of the Hamas leaders to relocate to Istanbul recently is Abdel Rahman Ghanimat, who led Hamas’ ‘Surif Cell’, which was behind multiple suicide bombing attacks in Israel during the 1990s.
A Turkish diplomat who spoke off the record with The Telegraph denied that Hamas is plotting attacks on Israel from Turkish soil, and denied that Hamas is a terror organization.
“We reject all claims that Turkey is being used for anti-Israel activities,” the official said.
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