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Turkish authorities uncover Mossad spy ring

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Turkey announced on Tuesday the detention of 34 individuals suspected of being involved in planning abductions and spying on behalf of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.

The arrests come just weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a stern warning, emphasizing “serious consequences” if Israel attempted to target figures associated with the Palestinian militant group Hamas living or working in Turkey.

A Turkish security source revealed that most of the detained individuals were foreign nationals recruited by Mossad for “operations targeting Palestinians and their family members.”

The Turkish government, expressing determination, stated that it aims to prevent any foreign intelligence agency from operating on Turkish soil without proper authorization.

Video footage released by Turkish authorities showcased armed security service agents conducting raids, breaking down doors, and handcuffing suspects in their homes. However, the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office reported that 12 additional suspects remained at large.

President Erdogan, responding to the raids, commented, “There is an insidious operation and sabotage attempts being made against Turkey and its interests.”

This development marks a further deterioration in the already strained relations between Turkey and Israel.

The breakdown in ties between the two nations began with the outbreak of the war in Gaza nearly three months ago. Erdogan, once an advocate for improved relations, has become one of the harshest critics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He recently compared Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler and called for the abandonment of Western support for what he termed “terrorism” by Israeli troops in Gaza.

As a result of the escalating tensions, Erdogan recalled Ankara’s envoy to Tel Aviv and advocated for the trial of Israeli commanders and political leaders at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The president’s ruling AKP party organized one of Turkey’s largest rallies against the Israeli government on Monday.

The conflict in Gaza has effectively halted the gradual thawing in Turkish-Israeli relations, which had seen the reappointment of ambassadors in 2022.

Prior to the recent hostilities, Israel and Turkey were engaged in talks about a major Mediterranean Sea natural gas pipeline project, potentially reshaping geopolitical alliances in the Middle East.

Notably, Turkey received appreciation from Israel in 2022 for detaining a group of individuals planning to harm Israeli tourists in Istanbul.

Despite periodic raids by the Turkish MIT intelligence service against suspected Israeli operatives, tensions have reached a new peak with the latest arrests.

The ongoing war in Gaza has resulted in significant casualties and displacement. Hamas’s foreign political office in Istanbul, which operated until the outbreak of the conflict, has added complexity to the situation.

Turkey informally requested Hamas leaders to leave following the group’s raids into southern Israel, leading to a tragic loss of lives and the taking of hostages.

As the conflict continues, the toll on Gaza’s population is dire, with UN agencies expressing alarm over a spiraling humanitarian crisis.

Thousands have lost their homes, facing shortages of essential resources and surviving in makeshift shelters amid the rubble.

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