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Turkey detains 5 protesters trying to enter Israeli consulate

Activists were denouncing Israeli strikes on Gaza; incident comes days after Ankara ratifies reconciliation deal with Jerusalem

Illustrative: Pro-Palestinian Turks shout slogans against Israel during a protest rally outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, early Friday, July 18, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Emrah Gurel)
Illustrative: Pro-Palestinian Turks shout slogans against Israel during a protest rally outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, early Friday, July 18, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Emrah Gurel)

Turkish police on Monday detained five people who tried to break into Israel’s consulate in Istanbul to protest Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, a state-run news agency reported.

The Israeli military carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, targeting Hamas positions in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that hit the Israeli border town of Sderot.

Anadolu Agency said the five entered a business center housing the consulate early Monday and were detained by police who were called to the scene. Security around the building was increased, Anadolu said.

The incident came days after Turkey’s parliament approved a reconciliation pact reached with Israel last month, ending a six-year rift and paving the way for the mutual re-appointment of ambassadors.

Relations between the former allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid left 10 Turks dead and several IDF soldiers wounded.

Under the terms of the reconciliation agreement, Israel will pay a “lump sum” of $20 million in compensation to the victims within 25 days.

Individual Israeli nationals will not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

With the agreement, Israel also eased slightly the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, transferring humanitarian aid from Ankara through Israel’s border crossings with the Strip.

On Saturday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said he intended to visit Israel in the near future.

Israel’s security cabinet approved the reconciliation agreement in June.

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