Israel blocks Turkish-Hamas funding channel

Israeli Security Agency Shin Bet and Defence Ministry have blocked the transfer of more than $100,000 worth of Turkish merchandise and money being channelled to fund militant Palestinian group Hamas, the Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

A total of $121,000 in merchandise and cash was set to be transferred via commercial companies by Hamas members in Turkey to members of the group in the West Bank, it said.

“We will continue to be relentless on terrorism and track down its infrastructure anywhere it exists in Israel or beyond,” the Jerusalem Post cited Defence Minister Benny Gantzas saying after the operation.

Considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States, Hamas is one of a string of issues that are contributing to ongoing tensions in Turkey-Israel relations.

Turkey has been accused of providing funds and even citizenship to top Hamas officials. 

The organisation maintains an Istanbul, which was established after the Syrian Civil War forced the group to abandon one of its bureaus in Damascus. 

Last month, Israel said a thaw in relations with Ankara would only be possible if Hamas’ İstanbul office is shut down.