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Shin Bet: Hamas operating in Turkey, China
By YAAKOV KATZ
08/09/2011
Intelligence officials say Hamas operations in China are financial and include money laundering; In Turkey, Hamas recruits operatives.
 
Hamas has established a command post in Turkey that it uses to recruit new operatives and oversee some of its operations in the Middle East, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed on Wednesday.

Hamas’s presence in Turkey came up during the Shin Bet investigation into the 13 terrorist cells that it recently discovered operating in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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One of the cells was working to carry out a suicide-bomb attack in Jerusalem; the attack was thwarted. A senior Shin Bet official stressed, however, that the Hamas command post in Turkey was not directly involved in the cells that were captured, although one of the senior Hamas members who lives in Jordan also oversees operations in Syria, Turkey and China.

Shin Bet officials said Hamas operations in China were financial and included money laundering and procurement of equipment. In Turkey, Hamas is believed to be active in recruiting operatives.

On Wednesday, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon accused Ankara of cooperating with Hamas and Iran.

“How can you trust a government that consorts with Iran and Hamas?” Ya’alon asked during a speech he gave at a conference in Tel Aviv.

Hamas’s best-known overseas presence is in Damascus, home to its political leader Khaled Mashaal. Hamas is believed to be the strongest overseas in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – but could potentially work together with other groups, such as Hezbollah, to increase its reach.

The assassination of senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud Mabhouh in 2010 in Dubai, blamed on the Mossad, shed light on Hamas’s extensive operations overseas and how the group does not just operate in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Mabhouh was reported to have been in charge of procuring weapons for the group and working together with terrorist infrastructure in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
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