Israeli media is reporting that Israel has arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network said to be funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey. According to the Times of Israel report, these officials have set up a de facto command center in Turkey:
November 21, 2014 Israel has arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network operating throughout the West Bank in recent weeks who were planning a series of attacks against Israeli targets, senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel. The network, they said, was funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey who have set up a de facto command center in the Muslim country.
The network was similar in its operational characteristics to one uncovered in August during the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the officials said Thursday night, adding that according to information received from Israel, this terror ring was even larger. Its operatives had already attempted several attacks against Israel, they added, but they had all failed.
As with the previous network, the man behind the terrorist grouping was Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas leader who was deported from the West Bank to Turkey in 2010, the sources said.
Arouri, they said, built up and funded the network, and has effectively established a Hamas command post in Turkey which is leading terror efforts in the West Bank. Arouri is reportedly aided by dozens of operatives, some of whom were deported by Israel in the wake of the Gilad Shalit prisoner deal in 2011.
Read the rest here.
According to a subsequent Times of Israel report, Turkish officials denied that Hamas is operating a command center from within its borders and that Israel has appealed to the NATO and to the US leadership to take steps against NATO-member Turkey in connection with the allegations.
In August, the GMBDW was the first to report that that Salah al-Arouri, a Hamas military leader residing in Turkey, had admitted that the Hamas military wing was responsible for the kidnapping, an event which sparked the recent round of the Gaza conflict. The admission was made at an Istanbul meeting of the iInternational Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and attended by various Brotherhood luminiaries as well the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister. Subsequent Israeli media reports say that Salah al-Aruri (aka Saleh al-Arouri), who is based in Turkey, was also the mastermind behind what has been described as a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank that was intended to end the rule of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and spark a third intifada. False claims that the Israeli police had exculpated Hamas in connection with the crime were for a time a staple on websites linked to a or sympathetic to Hamas and/or the Muslim Brotherhood.
We also reported last week that Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal had further confirmed that Hamas members were behind the West Bank killing of three Israeli teenagers.
For a profile of Saleh al-Arouri, go here.
For our report on the IUMS meeting, go here.