Lapid: ‘Turkey must shut down Hamas’

Turkey has long served as a safe haven for Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

On the heels of Sunday’s deadly terror attack which left a South African immigrant to Israel dead and widespread Monday raids in Judea and Samaria to arrest members of Hamas cells planning attacks, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has asked Turkey to ban the terror group.

“Hamas’ offices in Istanbul will be shut down. We must prevent these heinous acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens everywhere and under any conditions,” Lapid said.

Referencing the UK’s recent decision to ban the terror group’s political wing, Lapid said that “The countries of the world must act like Britain and outlaw Hamas.”

Kan News reported that the Hamas-affiliated perpetrator of Sunday’s attack, eastern Jerusalem resident Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, had traveled to Turkey repeatedly over the course of the last few years.

Security officials told Kan that Abu Shkhaydam had likely received training there, though his family challenged that version of events and said he’d traveled to visit his son, who is studying at a Turkish university.

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Turkey has long served as a safe haven for Palestinian terrorists, with a number of prominent terror masterminds released in prisoner exchange deals given refuge by the Turkish government.

Recep Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, has met with multiple high profile members of Hamas, including Ismail Haniyeh and Saleh al-Arouri.

Turkey has funded a number of projects in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, including schools and hospitals.

Istanbul has publicly said they believe Hamas is the legitimate ruling government of the Strip, so they will not adopt American and European attitudes towards the group and classify them as terrorists.

During the Israel-Hamas war in May, Erdogan bemoaned what he called Israeli brutality in remarks that were later condemned by the U.S. as antisemitic.

After saying Israel was committing “terrorism” against the Palestinians, the Turkish premier added, “It is in their nature. They are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They only are satisfied by sucking their blood.”