Turkey says it rounds up 33 suspected spies for Israel's Mossad

Turkish police detained 33 people suspected of spying for Israel's Mossad intelligence service and of targeting foreigners living in Turkey, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on Tuesday.

Publication: 02.01.2024 - 17:36
Turkey says it rounds up 33 suspected spies for Israel's Mossad
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Last month, Turkish officials warned Israel of "serious consequences" if it tried to hunt down members of the militant group Hamas living outside Palestinian territories, including in Turkey. President Tayyip Erdogan warned that would be a mistake.

Turkey, unlike most of its Western allies and some Arab nations, does not classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Police raided 57 locations in eight provinces as part of an investigation - dubbed "Operation Mole" - launched by the Istanbul prosecutor's counter-terrorism bureau and the MIT intelligence agency, Yerlikaya said.

He said on social media platform X that the suspects were believed to be aiming to identify, monitor, assault and kidnap foreign nationals living in Turkey. The state-run Anadolu news agency said authorities were seeking 13 others.

Asked about the arrests, Israeli Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment.

Turkey has harshly criticised Israel for its bombardment of Gaza in its war with Hamas, with Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly exchanging barbs last week.

Yerlikaya said authorities had found large amounts of foreign currency, including around 150,000 euros ($165,105), an unregistered firearm, and digital materials during the raids.

He shared footage of the operations showing police raiding homes, handcuffing suspects, and putting them in police vehicles.

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