Turkey 'Deports' Palestinian Activists

Istanbul, Turkey (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Istanbul, Turkey (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Turkey 'Deports' Palestinian Activists

Istanbul, Turkey (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Istanbul, Turkey (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Turkey has reportedly deported several Palestinian activists from the Hamas Movement and other Interpol-wanted persons for committing criminal acts, informed sources said on Thursday.

The sources, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, neither confirmed nor denied Israeli reports claiming the Turkish authorities' deported dozens of Hamas members during the past months, based on a list of names submitted by Tel Aviv.

The sources pointed out that the Turkish authorities arrested Palestinian national Omari Odeh in a security operation in Istanbul in March, days after the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey.

According to Turkish media, Odeh is wanted on an Interpol red notice for committing organized crimes between 2017 and 2019, including murder, attempted murder, money laundering, and fraud, among other accusations.

He was arrested in an apartment in the Sisli neighborhood in Istanbul and was later deported.

The Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, reported that Turkey deported Hamas members at Israel's request in recent months.

A Palestinian source said that "dozens of people identified with Hamas in various circles have been deported [from Turkey]."

Several media outlets confirmed this report, saying some Hamas members who had traveled outside Turkey were not being allowed to return.

The Palestinian official said there was nothing "random" about the decision.

"Turkey asked them to leave, which actually happened in the last few months. Some of the people with ties to Hamas' military wing have been deported," he claimed.

The Israelis gave Turkey a list of Hamas members and information about the involvement of some of them in military activity.

"In response, the Turks contacted Hamas and told them, 'You promised you wouldn't do anything like that here, so now you need to leave,'" he said.

The official said that Turkey had told the Hamas leadership that "economic interests" were at play.

"The renewed ties between Turkey and Israel are supposedly diplomatic and political, but Hamas knows that Israel has influence over Turkey regarding security issues. A few Israeli security representatives have also visited Turkey."

While Ankara issued no official position or statement, media outlets opposed to the government highlighted the Israeli reports, saying Hamas has become a victim of normalization between the Turkish government and Israel.

Meanwhile, sources close to Hamas in Gaza told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey has already ordered the movement's activists to leave and prevented the return of others.

They reported that this has been going on for many weeks, adding that the policy has changed.

They added that Turkey informed the movement's officials months ago that their stay in the country depended on ending their activity against Israel.

The sources stressed that Ankara is tightening its measures against the movement, thanks to its rapprochement with Israel, which is an inconvenience for Hamas that still has a presence in Turkey.



Israeli Forces Advance in Southern Gaza, Tanks Active in Rafah

This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Forces Advance in Southern Gaza, Tanks Active in Rafah

This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli forces advanced deeper into some towns on the eastern side of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Thursday, hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US lawmakers he was actively engaged in bringing hostages home.
Fighting in recent days has centered around the eastern towns of Bani Suaila, Al-Zanna, and Al-Karara, where the army said on Wednesday it had found the bodies of five Israelis who were killed in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel and held in Gaza since, Reuters said.
Hamas militants took more than 250 hostages in the early morning raid into southern Israel and killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies.
Israel retaliated by vowing to eradicate Hamas in Gaza in a nine-month war that has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians, Gaza health officials say.
Several were wounded in the eastern towns during Israeli tank and aerial shelling, while an airstrike east of Khan Younis killed four people, Palestinian health officials said.
Israeli bombardment intensified in several areas in Rafah, near the border with Egypt, as tanks operated north, west and in the town center, residents and medics said. Several Palestinians were also wounded in Israeli fire earlier on Thursday.
The Israeli military said forces operating in Khan Younis killed dozens of militants and dismantled around 50 military infrastructures, while it continued activities in Rafah, killing two militants.
In a speech to the US Congress, Netanyahu said his government was actively involved in seeking the release of remaining hostages and was confident they would succeed.
DISAPPOINTING SPEECH
Hamas described the comments by Netanyahu as "pure lies" accusing him of thwarting efforts to end the war.
Netanyahu's comments also disappointed many displaced Palestinians who had hoped for a clearer signal of an imminent end to the fighting, which has laid the overcrowded enclave to waste and created a humanitarian crisis.
"It was depressing, he didn't even mention ceasefire at all, not even once," said Tamer Al-Burai, a resident of Gaza City, now displaced in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
"People awaited some surprise, a ceasefire announcement by Netanyahu as a gift to (US President Joe) Biden, but they slept with much disappointment, as Netanyahu said he was determined to pursue war," Burai told Reuters via a chat app.
Deir Al-Balah, where tanks haven't yet invaded, is currently overcrowded with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, displaced from other areas of the enclave, home to 2.3 million people.
"Netanyahu spoke in a play, he spoke to clowns," said Burai.
Diplomatic efforts by Arab mediators, backed by the United States, to conclude a ceasefire deal, seemed to be on hold, as Israel was expected to send a delegation for more talks next week.
In northern Gaza, an Israeli air strike on a house in the Sheikh Radwan suburb killed four people, medics said, while seven Palestinians arrived at a hospital in central Gaza who had been detained by Israeli forces and released in an area close to the border.