ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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PM condemns Istanbul attacks, expects Turkey to denounce terror in Israel

Netanyahu says Ankara must decry all attacks in Israel, too, in comments weeks after countries restored ties

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem on December 11, 2016. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem on December 11, 2016. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the twin bombings that killed 38 people in Istanbul, while at the same time calling on Turkey to speak out against attacks in Israel.

“Israel condemns all terrorism in Turkey and expects that Turkey will condemn all terrorist attacks in Israel,” Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

“The fight against terrorism must be mutual. It must be mutual in condemnation and in countermeasures, and this is what the state of Israel expects from all countries it is in contact with, including Turkey.”

Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize ties in June after a bitter diplomatic rift over the IDF’s 2010 raid of a Turkish ship bound for Gaza.

The Mavi Marmara was leading a protest flotilla to the Gaza Strip in 2010, where Israel maintains a security blockade to prevent ruling terror group Hamas from importing weapons. Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship, were attacked by activists who were waiting for them, and responded with gunfire, killing ten. Ten Israelis were wounded. The incident soured relations between Jerusalem and Ankara for years.

An Istanbul court on Friday dropped a case against four top former Israeli commanders who were being tried in absentia over the raid.

Coffins of bomb victims are carried through the crowd during a memorial in Istanbul, Sunday, December 11, 2016, for police officers killed outside the Besiktas football club stadium Vodafone Arena late Saturday. (AP)
Coffins of bomb victims are carried through the crowd during a memorial in Istanbul, Sunday, December 11, 2016, for police officers killed outside the Besiktas football club stadium Vodafone Arena late Saturday. (AP)

Despite the deal, considerable tensions remain, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presenting himself as a champion of the Palestinians and regularly meeting with Khaled Mashaal, head of Palestinian terror group Hamas.

Israel, the United States and the European Union all view Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, as a terror organization.

A car bomb detonated Saturday night in Istanbul outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas after a Super Lig match against Bursaspor, and less than a minute later a suicide attacker blew himself up at a nearby park.

Turkish authorities said the attacks, in which police officers accounted for most of dead, were likely the work of Kurdish militants.

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