11 of the terrorists who were freed from Israeli prisons as part of the Gilad Shalit deal landed late Tuesday night in Turkey, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported.
The terrorists were flown on a special plane from Cairo to Ankara, after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed that Turkey will be accepting them.
On Monday, Hamas reported that Turkey, along with Qatar, had agreed to accept the Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists to be deported under the prisoner swap deal. This was confirmed by Turkish officials on Tuesday.
Turkey originally agreed to take in 10 terrorists but an additional female prisoner joined at the last minute.
Davutoglu was quoted by Channel 10 News as having told reporters that Turkey believes that taking in the terrorists is “an important contribution to peace in the region.”
“We see this as a humanitarian issue,” he was quoted as having said. “1,027 Palestinians unite with their families and one Israeli soldier returns to his family.” He added that PA Arabs should see Turkey as their second home.
Davutoglu was further quoted as having rejected the claims that the freed terrorists would threaten his country.
“Regardless of the crimes they committed in the past, the deal for their release shows that these crimes have been erased,” he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Hamas terrorists in Gaza promised that there would be more kidnappings of IDF soldiers, given the success they realized by nabbing Shalit five years ago.
The terrorists made the promises during a huge rally in Gaza Tuesday night, with tens of thousands calling for the destruction of Israel and for freedom for all terrorists still in Israeli prisons.
Over 250,000 people gathered in Gaza City’s central square during the rally, holding Hamas flags and shouting, “The people want a new Gilad.”