Masked Hamas terrorists 311 (R).
(photo credit: Mohammed Salem / Reuters)
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.
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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.
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
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.