Hamas has set up a secret headquarters in Turkey for carrying out cyberwarfare and counterintelligence operations, British daily The Times reported, citing Western intelligence.
The headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, were set up about two years ago and are separate from Hamas’ official offices in the city, which deal mainly with coordination and funding, according to the sources. The unit is directed by Hamas’s military leadership in Gaza and was opened without the knowledge of the Turkish government.
Its operatives are not known to other Hamas members in Turkey and have not notified the government of President Tayyip Erdogan of their presence, according to sources.
The headquarters is directed by Samakh Saraj, a senior Hamas member based in Gaza who reports directly to the movement’s leader, Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip.
The secret headquarters are also reportedly responsible for the purchasing of equipment that can be used for the manufacture of weapons, and coordinating cyber operations against Hamas’s enemies, including the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and embassies of countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
It also oversees surveillance and interrogation – in some cases of those within Hamas’s own ranks suspected of disloyalty, according to the report.