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NATO leader admits to protecting 1000 Hamas members in own hospitals | World | News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed some 1,000 members of the militant Palestinian group Hamas were receiving medical treatment in hospitals scattered across Turkey.

The NATO leader, known for his outspoken support for Hamas, reiterated his stance, branding the terrorist organisation as a « resistance movement ». During a press conference held after discussions with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Ankara, Erdogan expressed dismay at Greece’s classification of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

« I am saddened by the Greek view that deems Hamas a terrorist organisation, » Erdogan said. However, a Turkish official, who chose to remain anonymous, later clarified Erdogan’s statement, claiming that the president had intended to refer to Palestinians from Gaza in general, rather than specifically identifying them as Hamas members.

« President Erdogan misspoke, he meant 1,000 Gazans are under treatment, not Hamas members, » the official said.

Despite their disagreements over various aspects of the conflict in Gaza, both Greece and Turkey concurred on the necessity to end the violence and establish a lasting ceasefire.

Mitsotakis, responding to Erdogan’s remarks, diplomatically suggested: « Let’s agree to disagree. »

It comes as the Israeli army confirmed a Hamas attack on the Kerem Shalom border crossing—a crucial entry point for delivering aid into Gaza. According to a military official, Hamas launched unidentified projectiles at the crossing, which landed nearby.

Hamas, on its part, claimed responsibility for shelling the area, asserting that it had targeted a military base. The attack happened shortly after Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing for aid deliveries, following its closure due to a Hamas attack that killed four soldiers.

The incident has raised concerns about the continuation of aid deliveries, with an official noting that the attack would pose challenges. Nevertheless, the crossing is expected to resume its regular daytime operating hours on Thursday.

US President Joe Biden made clear on Wednesday that the United States would not supply offensive weapons to Israel for a potential all-out assault on Rafah—the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza.

Expressing concern for the well-being of over a million civilians in Rafah, Biden emphasised that the US remained committed to Israel‘s defence but would only provide defensive arms, such as Iron Dome rocket interceptors.

Biden’s remarks came after his administration paused a shipment of heavy bombs to Israel, citing apprehensions that Israel might launch an attack on Rafah despite warnings. The interview with CNN marked Biden’s firmest stance yet on a potential Israeli military operation in Gaza.

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