Saleh al-Arouri .
(photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
Hamas’s top operative Saleh Al-Arouri has left Turkey following unprecedented American and Israeli pressure on the Turkish government, a Hamas source said on Monday.
The source said that Al-Arouri was now moving from one country to another and was no longer based in Turkey.
The source told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi
newspaper that Al-Arouri had left Turkey several months ago. “He decided to leave Turkey voluntarily so as not to embarrass Turkey, which was facing big pressure from Israel and the US Administration,” the source added, denying charges that Al-Arouri was involved in planning terror attacks from Turkey.
The report about Al-Arouri’s departure from Turkey comes amid signs of rapprochement between Ankara and Israel.
The source claimed that Hamas has advised its top officials to refrain from settling in one country on a permanent basis and to move between different countries.
Al-Arouri is now shuttling between Qatar and Lebanon, the source revealed, denying that the Turkish authorities had imposed restrictions on Hamas activities and officials living in the country. The source also denied that Turkey had banned Al-Arouri from entering the country.
Earlier this week, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two discussed the latest developments surrounding Turkey’s decision to normalize its relations with Israel.
Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip were closely monitoring the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement and expressed hope that Erdogan would not abandon his conditions, especially with regards to lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official, said on Monday that the news about the possible normalization of ties between Turkey and Israel was “not happy news” unless Israel lifted the blockade.