Law enforcement and Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency conducted joint operations to detain the group in Istanbul and the western Izmir province, the Anadolu state news agency reported. The arrests come after Ankara warned Israel there would be “serious consequences” if it attempted to assassinate members of Hamas inside Turkey.
A Turkish security official told Reuters that the seven taken into custody were selling Mossad information connected to the tracking and monitoring of local targets. Turkey’s TRT state broadcaster separately reported that MIT had concluded that Mossad was tracking targets inside the country using private detectives. Those detectives were tasked with surveillance, biographical information gathering, and the installation of tracking devices, the report said.
The arrests come a month after Turkish authorities arrested dozens of others suspected of having links to Mossad.
Tensions have been raised between Turkey and Israel since December when recordings were published in which Ronen Bar, the director of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service, said his country was determined to kill Hamas leaders “in every location” around the world. “In Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar,” he said. Turkey reportedly issued warnings to Israel in response to the comments.
Turkey does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing Israel as a “terror state” over its military campaign in Gaza.
Israel launched its war in the enclave after the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7 which killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures. Over 27,000 people have been killed in Gaza over the course of the ensuing conflict, according to Palestinian health officials.