Turkish authorities said on Monday they had informed Israeli intelligence that any attempt by Israel to assassinate members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas living in Turkey – as claimed by media outlets – would have serious consequences, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
The warning from the Turkish officials, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, followed a Wall Street Journal report alleging that Israel is planning to assassinate Hamas members living outside Palestine, including in Turkey, Lebanon and Qatar.
Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, said in a recording broadcast on Israeli state television KAN that Israel is determined to kill Hamas leaders around the world, including in Qatar, Turkey and Lebanon, even if it takes years.
The necessary warnings against such an action were issued to the Israeli officials concerned, Anadolu cited Turkish officials as saying.
Speaking to Anadolu, the officials mentioned that various foreign intelligence services had previously tried unsuccessfully to conduct illegal activities on Turkish territory and emphasized that no foreign intelligence service was allowed to carry out such operations on Turkish soil.
Anadolu reports that Turkish officials have condemned the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and claim that Hamas – which Israel says it wants to eradicate – is not a terrorist group.
Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States label Hamas as a terrorist organization. New Zealand and Paraguay classify only its military wing as such. Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Syria and Turkey do not consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
NATO member Turkey’s Western allies have time and again criticized what they see as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan providing a safe haven for Hamas officials and members.
Israel began pounding the Palestinian enclave of Gaza after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7 that claimed 1,200 lives.
Israeli air and ground attacks in Gaza have claimed at least 15,500 lives since October 7 in addition to causing massive destruction in the enclave and leading to the displacement of at least 1.8 million people.