Turkey detains seven suspected of selling information to Mossad spy agency

One suspect, a private detective and former civil servant, allegedly gathered information on Middle Eastern companies and individuals and placed tracking devices

Illustrative: Turkish security forces in Ankara, October 1, 2023. (Ali Unal/AP)
Illustrative: Turkish security forces in Ankara, October 1, 2023. (Ali Unal/AP)

ISTANBUL — Turkish police have detained seven people, including a private detective, suspected of selling information to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, the state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

Anadolu cited security sources as saying the private detective, a former public servant, was suspected of gathering information on Middle Eastern companies and individuals in Turkey, placing tracking devices, and engaging in surveillance.

The sources said the detentions were part of an operation by Turkey’s national intelligence agency MIT and Istanbul counter-terror police.

Ankara made no official statement on the operation. Israel did not immediately comment on the Anadolu report.

The Turkish detective was trained by Mossad in the Serbian capital Belgrade and received payments in cryptocurrency that did not appear in official records, the sources said.

A Turkish court in January ordered the arrest of 15 people and the deportation of eight others suspected of having links to Mossad and targeting Palestinians living in Turkey. In February, Turkey detained seven suspected of selling information to Mossad.

Turkish and Israeli leaders have traded public barbs since Israel’s war with the Palestinian terror group Hamas began last October. Turkey has warned Israel of “serious consequences” if it tries to hunt down Hamas members living outside the Palestinian territories, including in Turkey.

Following the January 2 arrests, Anadolu cited a prosecution document as saying the operation targeted “Palestinian nationals and their families… within the scope of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

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

Unlike most of its Western allies and some Arab nations, Turkey does not classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas terrorists rampaged across the border, killing more than 1,200 people in Israel — most of them civilians slaughtered amid brutal atrocities including executions, burning of bodies, and gang rape —  and seizing 253 hostages, of whom 130 are still held in Gaza.

Vowing to destroy the terror group, Israel launched a wide-scale military campaign in Gaza which Hamas authorities say has killed more than 30,000 people. These figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed some 13,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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