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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Turkey now a state sponsor of terrorism, sheltering major Hamas terrorist

Jonathan Schanzer reports that President Obama's best friend forever, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is sheltering a major Hamas terrorist.
Turkey currently serves as the home for Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, whom the Palestinian movement's website identifies as the founder of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, in the West Bank. One senior Israeli intelligence official described him to me as "one of the most important leaders of Hamas … involved in a lot of things including finance and logistics."
Arouri's presence in Turkey raises the stakes in what the official calls a "dirty game" that Ankara is playing with the militant group. Just this year, Hamas's military wing in the West Bank attempted to kidnap soldiers and civilians and even planned to bomb an outdoor shopping mall. As the head of the West Bank's Qassam Brigades, Arouri may well have directed those attacks from Turkey.
Arouri was originally recruited by Hamas while studying at Hebron University, and he has served as a high-ranking military leader for the movement since the early 1990s, according to U.S. court documents. After serving several stretches of jail time, Israel released him in March 2010, possibly as part of an effort to secure the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
After Arouri's release, he served as a political official in Hamas's headquarters in Damascus, where he reportedly played a role in negotiating the Shalit deal, which brokered the soldier's freedom for more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli custody. 
When Hamas parted ways with Syria over the Assad regime's massacres in the country's ongoing civil war, Arouri left Damascus and is believed to have started operating out of Turkey last year. He has not been shy about his presence there: In March 2012, for example, he was part of a Hamas delegation that took part in talks with Turkish officials, including Erdogan. In October 2012, he traveled from Turkey to Gaza to attend the visit of Qatar's emir to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
But diplomacy appears to be only one part of Arouri's job. He is also allegedly involved in Hamas's illicit financial networks. In April 2013, Israeli security services announced the arrest of two Palestinians for smuggling money from Jordan to Hamas operatives in the West Bank.
During the interrogation, according to the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, one smuggler admitted that he was moving the money upon the orders of Arouri.
Presumably, those orders were issued from Turkey. The veteran Israeli analyst of Palestinian affairs, Ehud Yaari, recently noted that Turkey is allowing Arouri to direct efforts to rebuild Hamas's terrorism infrastructure in the West Bank. If Arouri really has, as Yaari writes, "taken sole control of the movement's activities in the West Bank," Turkey appears to have in effect taken over from Damascus and become Hamas's West Bank headquarters.
Schanzer notes that sheltering Arouri could classify Turkey as a state sponsor of terrorism. Read the whole thing.

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At 12:42 AM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Break all relations with Turkey. Kick all their diplomats out of Israel. Give all other Turkish nationals one week to leave the country. Put all their assets in escrow until international courts can determine how to dispose of them. And no official response to Turkish complaints. Not even 'no comment' just silence.


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