update deskIsrael at War

Report: Turkish terrorist traveled to Israel with official delegation

Israel's Ministry of Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the future of these tours in the wake of the attack.

Israeli rescue forces near the scene of a stabbing attack, in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Israeli rescue forces near the scene of a stabbing attack, in Jerusalem's Old City, April 30, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

The Turkish terrorist who carried out an attack in Jerusalem this week, moderately injuring an Israeli policeman, was visiting the Jewish state as part of an official delegation organized by Ankara’s Ministry of Religion, the HaKol HaYehudi news outlet reported on Thursday.

Hassan Saklana, 34, an imam (Muslim prayer leader) from Urfa in southeastern Turkey, stabbed a Border Police officer outside the Old City’s Herod’s Gate on Tuesday after entering Israel through Jordan a day earlier, according to reports.

Urfa, a city of almost 600,000 people near the Syrian border once known as Edessa, is known as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.

HaKol HaYehudi said Saklana left the delegation, which was staying at the New Capitol Hotel in eastern Jerusalem, and carried out his attack.

Ankara’s Ministry of Religion regularly sends official delegations to Israel as a way to establish a Turkish presence throughout the country’s capital, including in the Old City, the Temple Mount and the nearby Tomb of Samuel.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the future of such tours in the wake of the attack.

Turkey’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, in March called on Muslims to boycott Israeli products in solidarity with “our brothers and sisters” in Gaza, where the Israel Defense Forces are fighting Hamas.

The top cleric also claimed that “grandchildren of Holocaust survivors are massacring Muslims” in Gaza and called on the entire Islamic world to unite against the Jewish state, according to Turkish media reports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has shown extreme hostility to Israel since the Hamas-led massacre of Oct. 7 in which thousands of Israelis and foreign nationals were killed, wounded and kidnapped, with widespread atrocities documented.

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