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Turkey arrests 34 people suspected of spying for Israel’s Mossad

Turkish authorities have detained 34 people on suspicion of engaging in espionage activities and planning abductions on behalf of the Israel’s Mossad spy agency, security sources say.

Officials said Friday 57 addresses were raided in Istanbul and seven other provinces, resulting in the capture of the suspects, while they were still searching for 12 more suspects.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said authorities took action once they determined that Mossad was planning to execute “tactical tasks such as reconnaissance, pursuit, assault, and kidnapping against foreign nationals residing in our country”.

Videos of some of the Turkish raids posted by Yerlikaya showed police bursting into people’s flats, handcuffing suspects and escorting them towards police cars.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office conducted an inquiry which uncovered that nine individuals had sold information to Mossad via private investigators, Anadolu Agency said.

They were recruited to spy on Palestinians residing in Turkey as well as Israeli activists opposed to their regime, the news agency added.

Israeli officials contacted the suspects via social media, it said.

The report comes weeks after the head of Israel’s domestic spy agency, Shin Bet, said in an audio recording that his organization was prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place,” including in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

“We will do this everywhere, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar. It will take a few years but we will be there to do it,” Shin Bet head Ronen Bar was quoted as saying.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier cautioned Israel saying that it would be “doomed to pay a heavy price” if it proceeded with its intention to target Hamas officials on Turkish territory.

Ankara just like Iran, but unlike the United Kingdom, United States, and European Union, does not identify Hamas as a terrorist organization. It calls them as “liberators who protect their land”.

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