Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Turkey's Erdogan hosts Hamas leader wanted as terrorist by US

US has put up $5m reward for information leading to capture of Salah Al Arouri

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and Hamas share an affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood movement. AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and Hamas share an affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood movement. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday hosted a large Hamas delegation in Istanbul, which included its deputy leader Salah Al Arouri, who is designated a wanted terrorist by the US.

The US has put up a $5 million (Dh18.3m) reward for information leading to Mr Al Arouri's capture.

It marked the latest in a number of high-profile government meetings with Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian territories, in Turkey.

Mr Al Arouri, who the US says "has been linked to several terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings", has pledged to keep close ties with Iran and to maintain its weapons.

Hamas and the Turkish ruling party share an affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt and the UAE, and is considered a terrorist group by the EU and US.

At least seven members of a group of 12 senior Hamas leaderss who were expelled from their homeland and were using Turkey as a base have now obtained citizenship, according to a report this month in the UK's Daily Telegraph.

Mr Erdogan has let Hamas figures direct operations against Israel, including an assassination attempt on the Mayor of Jerusalem, and the occupied West Bank from within Turkey, the Daily Telegraph reported last year.

A Century Foundation report last week quoted an opposition leader in Istanbul as saying 20,000 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members live on Turkish soil.

Updated: August 24, 2020 12:13 AM

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