Turkey arrests two more people suspected of spying for Israel

Detention latest in a string of arrests in Turkey of people accused of passing information to the Mossad

Supporters of Palestinians in Gaza protest in Istanbul, Turkey, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Supporters of Palestinians in Gaza protest in Istanbul, Turkey, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

ANKARA, Turkey  — Turkish authorities have arrested two people suspected of providing information to Israel’s Mossad spy agency, a top official said Friday, in the latest in a series of such arrests in Turkey.

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said the suspects allegedly gathered information about people and companies of interest to Israel and passed on the data and documents to Israeli intelligence officials.

Six other people who were also detained in the operation, codenamed “Mole-3,” were released following questioning, Yerlikaya said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We will never allow espionage activities that target our national unity and solidarity to take place within the borders of our country,” Yerlikaya said.

The minister did not provide further information on the suspects. Dozens of people, including private detectives, have been detained in Turkey since January on suspicion of spying for Israel, mostly on Palestinians living in Turkey.

Turkey and Israel had normalized ties in 2022 by reappointing ambassadors following years of tensions. But those links quickly deteriorated after Hamas’s October 7 invasion of Israel that killed some 1,200 people, most of them civilians and took 253 people hostage.

Ankara has been one of the most ardent backers of Hamas and the strongest critics of Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

In December, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said that his organization was prepared to target Hamas anywhere, including in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Israel of “serious consequences” if Israel pressed ahead with its threat to attack Hamas members on Turkish soil.

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