The Hamas terror group requested better quality maps from a Turkish charity in order to gain more accuracy when firing rockets, according to Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency.
The Shin Bet discovered after questioning Muhammad Murtaja, who was arrested last month on suspicion of working on behalf of Hamas, that over the past two years the terror terror organization had asked the Turkish IHH organization for advanced satellite mapping programs to improve the accuracy of its rockets, the Hebrew-language Ynet news site reported.
The Shin Bet investigation reportedly revealed that during its last war with Israel in 2014, Hamas used Google Maps in order to target locations in Israel, leading to most of the rockets missing their targets. Many of the other rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Murtaja, the manager of the Gaza branch of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), is accused of having taken advantage of his position in TIKA in order to direct funds and resources away from “meaningful humanitarian projects” and toward Hamas’s military wing.
One apparent scam detailed by the security service allowed “millions of shekels” to be given to Hamas members in food and cash.
The Shin Bet said Murtaja replaced the names of candidates eligible for humanitarian aid with the names of people who “were apparently Hamas military operatives and their families,” who then received money and benefits from TIKA.
The 40-year-old Murtaja was arrested as he attempted to travel from Gaza to Turkey.
According to the Shin Bet, Murtaja’s embezzlement of TIKA’s funds was known by Hamas’s upper echelon, “with Ismail Haniyeh at its head.”
Murtaja is believed to have joined the terror group in 2008, taking part in “training and military exercises, manufacturing weapons and improvised explosive devices and digging terror tunnels,” the Shin Bet said.
In his interrogations, he provided the security service with “operational information” about Hamas’s tunnel systems, war plans and weapons manufacturing, the Shin Bet said.
Mehmet Kaya, the head of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, known by its acronym IHH, was also implicated in the Shin Bet investigation, the intelligence agency announced Tuesday. However, Kaya has not yet been arrested.
IHH, which Israel officially considers to be a terrorist organization, was behind the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, in which nine activists were killed after attacking Israeli commandos who boarded their ship.
According to the security service, Kaya used IHH money to “directly fund the activities of Hamas’s military wing.”
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.