A bomb in Istanbul that injured eight people in May was not organized by the
Kurdish militant group PKK but was an attempt by Hezbollah to kill Israel’s
consul- general in the city, an Italian newspaper reported Monday.
Washington sources, the leading daily Corriere della Sera
reported the May 26
bomb in Istanbul’s busy Etiler district was aimed at Moshe Kamhi, Israel’s
consul-general to Istanbul, in retaliation for the 2010 assassination of Iranian
nuclear physicist Masoud Alimohammadi in Tehran. Iran blamed the strike on the
US and Israel, a charge the US State Department dismissed as
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After tracing the Istanbul attack to the PKK, Turkey’s national
intelligence organization reportedly revised its conclusion to instead
incriminate Hezbollah, acting at the behest of its sponsor
According to the Italian report, members of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard’s elite Al-Quds Force surveilled the area, carefully noting
Kamhi’s daily routine, then contracted Lebanese members of Hezbollah to carry
out the attack.
The plan failed, the report said, due to countermeasures
taken by the Israeli diplomat and by Turkish counter-terrorism
No one claimed responsibility for the May attack, but Turkish
officials were quick to suggest the PKK was attempting to stir up chaos ahead of
the country’s June 12 elections. The movement, an acronym for the Kurdistan
Workers’ Party, is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the
Israel denied knowledge of the Hezbollah plot, and Turkish
intelligence sources summarily rejected the report.
“Israel carries out
similar disinformation campaigns through newspapers from time to time,”one
source said, Turkey’s Hurriyet
Kamhi, born and raised in
Istanbul and a native Turkish speaker, took his current position in 2009. He
previously worked at a number of diplomatic postings including a stint at the
Israeli consulate in Ankara, where he met his future wife, a non- Jewish Turkish
“I am an Israeli who was born in Istanbul and raised through
Turkish culture. I was molded inside Turkish civilization,” he told Hurriyet
a 2009 interview.
“My grandfather was born in Skopje [now in Macedonia]
and my grandmother was from Pristina [Kosovo].
My mother’s side of the
family took a shortcut – they came directly to Istanbul from Spain and lived in
Haskoy for 500 years,” he said, referring to a heavily Jewish neighborhood in
Istanbul’s Beyoglu district.
Kamhi himself grew up in nearby Kasimpasa,
close to the childhood home of Turkey’s current prime minister, Recep Tayyip
Kamhi and Erdogan are the same age, 57, but attended different
schools and never met as youth. On Erdogan’s first visit to Israel in 2005,
Kamhi served as translator.
“I introduced myself and we spoke about
Kasimpasa,” Kamhi told Hurriyet
reported Sunday that Erdogan
would visit Gaza over the next two weeks for meetings with officials of the
Hamas government. The Turkish premier has been a strident critic of
Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza War, its closure of the territory to non-essential goods
since Hamas seized power and its raid last year of a Gazabound flotilla that
resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens.
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