• Eyal Pinko

Turkey's MIT claims that they caught 15-member Mossad spy network

Turkish media claimed a Mossad network was caught in the country, just weeks after Hamas-affiliated media made a similar claim.

According to Turkish media, a large team from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) revealed that the Israeli intelligence agency's operatives were carrying out covert operations in Turkey targeting Israeli opponents and international students.

MIT units tracked the network, which comprised five different cells of three persons, for a year. The 15 spies were apprehended in a secret operation carried out on October 7 in four provinces.

According to Turkish media, the alleged spies were supplying Mossad with information about foreign students enrolling at Turkish colleges, particularly those who they believe could work in the defense industry in the future and Hamas terror operatives.

One of the cells was found to be particularly essential, as its members were entrusted with contacting Mossad field officials and meeting with them abroad, according to the inquiry.

Information and papers deemed important for Israel were conveyed to the Israeli field officers, referred to as "case officers". In addition, Mossad gave various payments to cell members in exchange for private information on Turkish students.

AB, one of the spies, was one of the network's most prominent members and was tasked with examining the living conditions of Palestinians in Turkey. In an attempt to deceive security forces, the spy pretended to be a courier for payments and went missing in Istanbul's Maltepe area in June 2021. MIT, on the other hand, was already monitoring the cells at the time.

According to the investigation, AB was in contact with A.Z., a field officer with an Israeli passport. This year, AB received $10,000 (TL 92,892) for his espionage activities.

R.A.A., another significant member of the network, was also reported missing. He was known to be in Zagreb, Croatia's capital, in June 2021, where he met with Mossad field managers. R.A.A. also received $3,200 in several payments.

Members of the alleged espionage network were given orders to acquire information about Palestinians studying at Turkish universities. The network subsequently used this data to construct profiles on individuals, which were then forwarded to Mossad officers in other countries via encrypted web-based tools. The network also investigated other Turkish associations and organizations, sharing its findings with the Israeli secret agency.

The 15 Mossad agents received cash via Western Union and Moneygram in exchange for the reports and were reimbursed in Bitcoin in certain circumstances. The agents also employed a courier system to send money, with stores and markets as hubs.

The probe is likely to deepen, and after MIT's teams have completed their interrogations of the spies, a thorough indictment will be drafted.

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