The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center located in Herzliya, Israel, published this backgrounder today to throw some light on the motivations and organization behind the so-called humanitarian flotilla now crossing the Mediterranean for Gaza.
The Turkish IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the Gaza flotilla, is a humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic, anti-Western orientation. Besides legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements. IHH was outlawed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak in 2008 because of its role in Hamas' global fund-raising.
As part of its connections with the global jihad, IHH supported jihadist terrorist networks in Bosnia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya. This was manifested by logistic support for the transfer of weapons and money.
In 2006 the Danish Institute for International Studies reported that in the past IHH had connections with al-Qaeda and global jihad operatives. According to the study, Turkish authorities received information in December 1997 that senior IHH figures had purchased automatic weapons from radical Islamic organizations.
The office of the organization in Istanbul was raided and activists were arrested. During the raid, Turkish security forces found weapons, explosives, instructions for making IEDs and a flag with a jihad message. IHH purchased three of the nine ships in the flotilla - a passenger ship and two cargo ships. On May 21, Muhammad Kaya, head of IHH office in Gaza, said there was a plan to send flotillas to Gaza every month...
...In 2006, the Danish Institute for International Studies conducted a study which reported that in the past IHH had connections with Al-Qaeda and global jihad operatives. The well-documented study was conducted by Evan Kohlman, an American researcher who specializes in Al-Qaeda and related subjects. It deals with the involvement of Islamic charity funds and foundations in supporting terrorism... The Turkish authorities began investigating IHH at least in December 1997, after having received information that senior IHH figures had purchased automatic weapons from radical Islamic organizations. The office of the organization in Istanbul was consequently raided and activists were arrested. During the raid the Turkish security forces found weapons, explosives, instructions for making IEDs and a flag with a jihad message. An examination of the documents found in IHH office indicated that IHH members were planning to take part in jihad activities in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.We do not predict smooth sailing. [Has your local news source reported on the terrorist organizers who stand behind this flotilla? Thought not.]
The study quotes a French intelligence report stating that in the mid-1990s IHH leader, Bülent Yildirim, was directly involved in recruiting “veteran soldiers” to organize jihad activities. According to the French report, a number of operatives were sent by IHH into war zones in Islamic countries to gain combat experience. The report also stated that IHH transferred money, “caches of firearms, knives and pre-fabricated explosives” to Muslim fighters in those countries.
The study also states that an examination of IHH’s telephone records in 1996 showed repeated calls in 1996 to an Al-Qaeda guest house in Milan and to Algerian terrorists operating in Europe (one of whom was notorious Al-Qaeda figure Abu Ma’ali [Abd al-Qadr Mukhtari], who operated in Bosnia). IHH’s name was also mentioned during the trial of Ahmed Ressam held in the United States in 2000 (Ressam was a senior Al-Qaeda operative active in Canada, who at the end of 1999 entered the United States in a car carrying 600 kilograms (1320 pounds) of explosives. He planned to carry out a mass-casualty attack at the Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium.) The United States federal prosecutors called Jean-Louis Bruguière, a leading French investigating magistrate in charge of terrorism affairs, as an expert witness. He testified that IHH had played an important role in Al-Qaeda’s planned attack. According to Bruguière, IHH served as a cover for Al-Qaeda and acquired forged documents, enlisted operatives and transferred weapons.