Hamas is using a secret base in Turkey to carry out cyber warfare and counter-intelligence operations to target its enemies, according to a report by The Times who spoke to several western intelligence sources.
The Times reported that the base is based in Istanbul and was set up two years ago separate from Hamas’ official offices in the Turkish city.
“The unit is directed by Hamas’s military leadership in Gaza and was opened without the knowledge of the Turkish government,” writes The Times’ Anshel Pfeffer.
“Its operatives are not known to other Hamas members in Turkey and have not notified the government of President Erdogan of their presence, according to sources,” Pfeffer wrote.
The Times’ report said that the Hamas cyber base in Istanbul is being directed by senior Hamas figure Samakh Saraj from Gaza and who mainly reports to Yahya Sinwar, the group's current leader.
“It co-ordinates cyber-operations against enemies of Hamas in the Arab world, including the rival Palestinian Authority based in Gaza, and embassies of countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates located in the Middle East and Europe. Lastly, it oversees surveillance, and in some cases interrogation, of those within Hamas’s own ranks suspected of disloyalty,” The Times’ report read.
Last August, a report by The Telegraph confirmed Turkey was granting senior operatives within a Hamas militant cell with citizenship. The Telegraph said it had seen papers that showed at least one of the 12 senior Hamas members in Turkey had received Turkish citizenship and an identity number.