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Turkiye detains 7 more people for allegedly selling information to Israel's spy agency

People protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza during a protest rally in Istanbul, Turkiye, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) People protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza during a protest rally in Istanbul, Turkiye, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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ANKARA, Turkey -

Turkish police on Tuesday detained seven more people suspected of selling information to the Israeli spy agency Mossad, authorities said, the latest in a wave of such arrests in Turkiye.

The suspects were taken into custody during simultaneous raids in Istanbul, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter. The raids were a joint operation with Turkiye's National Intelligence Organization.

The detained are suspected of collecting data on individuals and companies in Turkiye and selling it to the Israeli intelligence agency, Yerlikaya said. "We will never allow espionage activities to be carried out within the borders of our country."

It was not immediately known if any charges have been raised and authorities provided no additional information.

Last month, seven other people, including private detectives, were arrested on similar suspicions. And in early January, 34 people were also detained by Turkish police on suspicion of spying for Israel.

The suspects arrested in January have been accused of planning to carry out activities that included reconnaissance and "pursuing, assaulting and kidnapping" foreign nationals living in Turkiye.

At the time, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said most of the suspects were charged with committing "political or military espionage" on behalf of Israeli intelligence.

The state-run Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed security officials, said those detained Tuesday included a former civil servant currently working as a private detective who was allegedly trained by Mossad in Belgrade, Serbia. He collected information on Middle Eastern companies and individuals, and even placed tracking devices in vehicles of people targeted by Israeli intelligence, Anadolu said.

Turkiye and Israel had normalized ties in 2022 by reappointing ambassadors following years of tensions. But those ties quickly deteriorated after the Israel-Hamas war, with Ankara becoming one of the strongest critics of Israel's military actions in Gaza.

In December, the head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency said that his organization was prepared to target the militant Hamas group anywhere, including in Lebanon, Turkiye and Qatar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Israel of "serious consequences" if Israel pressed ahead with its threat to attack Hamas officials on Turkish soil.

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