Two Hamas operatives, one from Turkey and the other an Israeli-Arab, were arrested last month in Israel on suspicion of laundering funds and aiding the terrorist group, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said on Monday.
According to the Shin Bet, the two men were recruited in Turkey by senior Hamas figure Zaher Jabarin, who had been released from an Israeli prison as part of the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange deal. Jabarin is responsible for the Hamas budget and has promoted extensive terrorist activity in the West Bank under the direction of one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, Salah Arouri, who fled to Turkey in 2012.
On January 15, 2008, Kamil Takli, a Turkish citizen and a law lecturer, was arrested on suspicion of aiding terrorist groups in Turkey.
According to Shin Bet, the investigation into Takli found he was asked by Jabarin in 2012 to help Hamas operatives who had come to Turkey to establish themselves both personally and economically. The operatives who Takli helped, most of whom were released during the Schalit prisoner-exchange deal, were all involved in terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of dozens of Israeli citizens.
Takli is accused of helping the operatives obtain visas; purchase or rent residential and business real estate; purchase luxury vehicles; and establish business in Turkey by registering companies under his name.
The investigation into Takli found that Turkey was contributing to Hamas’s military buildup, among other things through a company called Sadat, which bills itself as “the first and the only company in Turkey that internationally provides consultancy and military training services.”
Founded in February 2012 by Adnan Tanriverdi, a former general who is close to Turkish authorities, the company’s website says Sadat’s mission is to establish a “defensive collaboration and defensive industrial cooperation among Islamic countries to help the Islamic world.”
But according to Shin Bet, the company was set up to help finance and build an “army of Palestine” to fight Israel. Sadat also helped senior Hamas officials visit a weapons exhibit in Turkey where they expressed interest in drone capabilities.
DURING THE interrogation it became clear that Hamas was in direct contact with the Turkish authorities through Jihad Yazmor, a terrorist operative who was involved in the abduction of the late Nachshon Wachsman, who had also been released as part of the Schalit deal.
“The findings of the investigation exposed Hamas’s extensive activity in Turkey under the direction of Zaher Jabarin, while the authorities ignored the source of the money,” read the Shin Bet statement. “During the interrogation it became clear that Hamas operatives owned a company called IMES, which was used by Hamas to cover up the laundering of millions of dollars of which were transferred to the Gaza Strip and various other places.”
The importance of IMES for Hamas was revealed during the arrest of Umm el-Fahm resident Diham Jabarin, who was recruited by Zaher Jabarin during his frequent visits to Turkey. Diham Jabarin, who was arrested a few days after Takli, is suspected of transferring hundreds of thousands of euros from Hamas operatives in Turkey to operatives in the West Bank.
A search of his home following his arrest found 91,000 euros which Jabarin intended to transfer to operatives in the West Bank.
The investigation revealed that Diham Jabarin’s activities were carried out under the guidance of Zaher Jabarin and his right-hand man, Salameh Mar’i, who settled in Turkey with the help of Takli. Mar’i was involved in a shooting attack in the Burkin area in March 1993 in which an IDF soldier was killed. He was also released from Israeli prison as part of the Schalit deal.
Additional suspects, residents of Umm el-Fahm, were arrested during the course of the investigation on suspicion of helping Dirham Jabarin.
Shin Bet implied that Turkey gave tacit approval for Hamas’s actions, saying government officials there “turned a blind eye” to the fact that the terrorist group was the source of the money given to Takli and Jabarin.
“The findings of the investigation illustrate the extensive military and economic activity of Hamas in Turkey, which takes place uninterruptedly as Turkish government officials turn a blind eye and sometimes even encourage with the assistance of Turkish citizens, some of whom are close to the administration,” read the Shin Bet statement.
“This activity relies, inter alia, on business platforms used by Hamas to launder funds to be transferred to the West Bank and to recruit Israelis for its activities,” the statement added.
Takli was deported to Turkey after he was interrogated. Dirham Jabarin’s trial is expected to begin in the coming days.