Turkey 'allowing Hamas to plan attacks on Israel from Istanbul'

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been again accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of foreign terrorist operatives in his country

Dec 18, 2019

December 18, 2019


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Turkey has allowed Hamas to plan attacks on Israel from Istanbul, it has been reported, in the latest accusation that the country is turning a blind eye to terrorist operatives.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has allegedly been allowing senior Hamas figures to direct operations against Jerusalem, including an assassination attempt on the mayor earlier this year, and the occupied West Bank from within Turkey, the UK's Daily Telegraph said.

The information was reportedly revealed in transcripts of Israeli police interviews with suspects.

Mr Erdogan met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh last weekend and pledged to "keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine", despite Israel’s repeatedly warning Turkey that it was being used as a base to plan attacks.

Turkey already has already faced questions about its incursion into north-east Syria, its support of extremist rebels there and, as The National exclusively reported, as to how the brother of ISIS leader Abu Bakir Al Baghdadi was able to move freely from their hideout in Syria to Istanbul.

Al Baghdadi was killed in a US operation last month, but Iraqi intelligence officials said that sibling Juma made regular trips to Europe’s largest city from northern Syria this year on his behalf.

Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the EU and US. However, the report said that the group's deputy leader also travels freely to the country, despite a US$5 million bounty issued for him by the US, and a dozen operatives have moved between Istanbul and Gaza over the last year.

Turkey and Hamas denied the accusations.

Turkish influence has been growing in the Palestinian arena since Mr Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. Hamas is intensifying contact with the country in preparation for proposed Palestinian elections.

Updated: December 18, 2019 12:03 PM

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