Ankara has asked a senior member of Hamas’ military wing based in Turkey to cut back on his anti-Israel activity, due to fears that otherwise, “Washington will accuse it of abetting terror,” Haaretz’s Amos Harel wrote Wednesday. The request was transmitted to Hamas member Saleh Aruri by Turkish intelligence.
Aruri was deported by Israel from the West Bank five years ago in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange agreement. Today, from his base in Turkey, he commands Hamas’ West Bank division.
According to Haaretz, other Hamas operatives from the West Bank also live in Turkey. Israeli defense officials recently claimed Hamas was running training camps in the country, while Turkish authorities “turned a blind eye.” This accusation reportedly spurred the United States to demand explanations from Turkey, and in response, Ankara asked Aruri to lower the profile of his activities.
In May 2014, Israel arrested dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank.
Haaretz continued that Aruri is not subordinate to Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip and doesn’t take orders from its head, Mohammed Deif. He reports directly to Hamas’ supreme leadership, the Shura Council, and is close to Khaled Meshal, the Qatar-based head of Hamas’ political bureau.