Report: Turkey extradited bombing suspect despite Israeli plea

New report says that Turkey extradited suspect in assasination attempt of senior Hamas militant despite Israeli request not to.

Tzvi Lev,

Exploded car in Sidon
Exploded car in Sidon

Turkey extradited the main suspect in a bombing in Lebanon targeting a senior Hamas militant despite an explicit request from the Mossad not to, Lebanon's Addiyar newspaper reported.

According to the report, Turkey ignored Israel's request and handed over Mahmoud Battiya, seen by Lebanon's security services as the main suspect in behind last week’s attempt on the life of senior Hamas official Mohammad Abu Hamza Hamdan. Battiya was allegedly recruited by the Mossad in Holland and has since made several trips to Lebanon for Israel's intelligence agency.

Hamdan was moderately injured in a car explosion in the southern Lebanon city of Sidon and was evacuated to the hospital.

Hamas and Hezbollah have blamed Israel for the attack, and Lebanese media has been rife with details regarding the bombing. According to one report, sources in the area saw an Israeli plane circling the sky during the explosion, which occurred at the same location in which Islamic Jihad members, the al-Majdoub brothers, were killed in 2006 in an operation allegedly carried out by Israel.

Another report on Sunday claimed that the target was Mohammed's brother Osama, a Gaza City native who has been an active Hamas member since 1988. Lebanese intelligence says that Bittiya traveled several times from a town near Beirut to Sidon in order to follow Hamdan's movements. In addition, the Arab media claims that all Israeli agents fled Sidon after the explosion.

However, Israeli officials hinted that the Jewish state was not behind the attack "If we’d been involved, this wouldn’t have ended with him lightly wounded," said Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz.

"Every day in the Middle East there are dozens of explosions that they try and pin on Israel, so let’s not react to this too seriously," added Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.