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March 27, 2017

Head of Turkish ‘Humanitarian’ Group Financed Hamas

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Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, has arrested the Gaza-based head of a Turkish humanitarian agency, a man named Muhammad Murtaja, and charged him with providing funds to Hamas, The Jerusalem Post reported (“Israel arrests head of Turkish humanitarian group in Gaza for financing Hamas,” March 21, 2017). Hamas is the U.S.-designated terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Murtaja, who is the Gaza coordinator for the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency was arrested in February while he was attempting to depart Israel on a work-related trip. The Shin Bet have provided some details as to what exactly Murtaja’s work entailed. The Jerusalem Post noted:

“Investigations reveal that Murtaja was recruited by Hamas in late 2008, and that his activity with the Palestinian terror group included funneling funds earmarked for humanitarian projects to Hamas.”

“According to the Shin Bet, he was also involved in Hamas militant training and exercises, manufacturing weapons and explosive devices and digging terror tunnels. Murtaja was said to have stored weapons, such as hand grenades and guns, in his home on behalf of Hamas.”

In addition to Murtaja, the Shin Bet named another suspect, Mehmet Kaya, the head of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Fund (IHH). Kaya has not, as of this writing, been apprehended (“Shin Bet: Hamas Stealing Turkish Aid Money to Fund Terror, The Tower, March 21, 2017).

As CAMERA has noted, the press frequently misidentifies the IHH as simply a “charity.” However, according to a 2011 report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli think tank that studies terrorism, “the Turkish IHH…has a record of supporting terrorist groups” and has “close relations with Turkey’s AKP government (see, for example “Washington Post Fails to Identify Terrorist ‘Charity,’’ Feb. 16, 2016).”

The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency is a government-run agency that operates on five continents. The agency is a department of the Prime Minister of Turkey and is tasked with providing development assistance to select countries and regions.

In their statement about Murtaja’s arrest, the Turkish agency claimed that they had employed the alleged Hamas member since 2012—a full four years after he reportedly joined the terror group. The agency claimed that it “will continue in the future as in the past, its projects with diligence and devotion in order to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people, including in Gaza…”

This is not the first time in recent months that a non-profit humanitarian group was charged with having ties with Hamas, a genocidal terrorist group with a history of using Palestinian people as human shields while indiscriminately targeting Israelis. In August 2016, Mohammed El-Halabi, an employee of the Christian non-profit World Vision, was accused of being both a Hamas member and of diverting charitable funds to the terror group (“Five Things You Need to Know About World Vision,” CAMERA, Aug. 18, 2016).

Posted by SD at March 27, 2017 05:36 PM

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