Israel brands Turkish charity 'terrorist organisation': TV

JERUSALEM- Israel considers the Turkish Muslim charity IHH involved in organising a flotilla of aid ships to Gaza last month as a "terrorist organisation," public television said Wednesday.
IHH, the acronym for Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, is the charity that was involved with organising the fleet of aid ships that attempted to bust the Gaza blockade on May 31.

Palestinian women and children attend an event organized by Turkish Muslim charity IHH.
Palestinian women and children attend an event organized by Turkish Muslim charity IHH.
Nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli navy seals when commandos stormed one of the six boats in the flotilla -- the Turkish-owned ferry, Mavi Marmara.
Public television said that IHH is now part of a list of movements or organisations such as the Palestinian Islamist Hamas or Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group which are under scrutiny by Israeli intelligence services.
Questionned by AFP a spokesman for the Israeli defence ministry declined to confirm or deny the report.
But a senior Israeli official said on condition of anonymity that "the IHH charity is considered as criminal in Israel because it supports terrorism and has close links with Hamas," the Islamist rulers of Gaza.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ygal Palmor told AFP "Israel will consider a hostile act any bid by enemy countries to break the Gaza blockade" -- amid reports aid ships from Iran and Lebanon would try to reach the Gaza Strip.
Turkey has accused Israel of "state terror" over the deadly attack on the aid flotilla.
Israel has said that the flotilla had been carrying out a "terrorist operation."
The IHH was founded in 1992 to help Muslims during the Bosnian war and operates in several Arab and Muslim countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Israel and several Western countries suspect IHH of having close ties with jihadists.
The charity's declared goal is to carry out relief operations to save lives and prevent human right abuses.

Wednesday, June 16th 2010

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