Israel has demanded that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) take action against one of its members, Turkey, after learning that the country allowed the Gaza-based Palestinian terror group Hamas to set up operational headquarters in Istanbul.
Senior political sources in Jerusalem said Hamas has chosen to relocate its diplomatic and military headquarters from Damascus to Istanbul due to the civil war that is raging in Syria. Official communiqués sent from Jerusalem to NATO’s office in Brussels said it was inconceivable that a member of the intergovernmental military alliance would maintain ties with a terrorist organization, Israel Hayom reported.
Hamas’s new Istanbul operation is said to be headed by Saleh al-Arouri, an infamous arch-terrorist believed to be responsible for dozens of terror attacks against Israelis. According to top Jerusalem sources, Arouri was also heavily involved in Hamas’s attempt to overthrow Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s government in the West Bank over the summer. The plot, which included a network of 96 terrorists, was foiled by Israeli intelligence.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s parent group. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned of Turkey’s close ties with Hamas during a recent visit to the U.S.
“Turkey is playing a cynical game. Hamas is sponsored by Turkey and Qatar, and the former is a NATO member. It’s inconceivable that this terror group would be allowed to have two headquarters-one in the Gaza Strip and the other in Istanbul,” Ya’alon said.