Ankara (QNN)- At least 15 people with links to Israel’s foreign intelligence agency (Mossad) have been arrested in Turkey, state broadcaster TRT reported on Thursday.
The 15 people were arrested as part of an investigation launched by the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office, according to Turkish judicial sources.
قناة "trt" التركية: رسميا.. الاستخبارات التركية تعلن اعتقال خلايا تجسس تابعة للموســاد الإسرائيلي من 15 شخصًا كانت تعمل بالتجسس على فلسطينيين وسوريين في البلاد والمس بالأمن القومي التركي". pic.twitter.com/E4qfP8KqSq
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) October 21, 2021
The suspects were relaying information and passing documents to the Israeli spy agency, said the sources on Tuesday, who requested anonymity due restrictions on speaking to the media.
The network relied on Palestinian and Syrian nationals living in Turkey, who received payments through wire transfers and couriers, the sources added.
The suspects were presented in court and then transferred to the Maltepe prison in Istanbul.
Two people who are familiar with the arrests confirmed to Middle East Eye (MEE) that the men have been arrested on charges of “espionage and working for Mossad to gather information on Palestinian citizens living in Turkey”.
The sources added that there were Palestinians and Syrians among those arrested, and that they were tasked with “collecting information on Turkish officials and Palestinian students inside Turkey.”
Not all the detained Palestinians are students, two sources familiar with the matter told MEE. They work in “different professions.”
An Israeli source close to the Israeli security establishment told MEE that this ring must be working for both Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, and Mossad to spy on students who are studying in areas that could be useful for the Palestinian political group Hamas.
According to Turkish Intelligence, the agents met face to face with Mossad officials abroad, in cities across Europe and Africa. Among the cities where the agents met were Zagreb, Bucharest, Zurich and Nairobi.
The Turkish intelligence agency said the network used ProtonMail, SafeUM, and WhatsApp to send files and information to Mossad officials abroad.