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Netanyahu condemns Istanbul bombs, urges Turkey’s support

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the twin bombings that killed 38 people in Istanbul, while at the same time calling on Turkey to speak out against attacks in Israel.

“Israel condemns all terrorism in Turkey and expects that Turkey will condemn all terrorist attacks in Israel,” Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

“The fight against terrorism must be mutual. It must be mutual in condemnation and in countermeasures, and this is what the state of Israel expects from all countries it is in contact with, including Turkey.”

Turkey and Israel agreed to normalise ties in June after a bitter diplomatic rift over the Jewish state’s 2010 deadly storming of a Turkish ship bound for Gaza.

Ten Turkish citizens lost their lives as a result of the raid that saw Israeli commandos storm the Mavi Marmara ship.

Under the deal to renew ties, Israel’s new ambassador arrived in Ankara on December 1, while Turkey’s envoy arrived in Israel on Saturday.

An Istanbul court on Friday dropped a case against four top former Israeli commanders who were being tried in absentia over the deadly raid.

Despite the deal, considerable tensions remain with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presenting himself as a champion of the Palestinians and regularly meeting with Khaled Meshaal, head of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Israel, the United States and the European Union all view Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, as a terrorist organisation.

A car bomb detonated Saturday night in Istanbul outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas after a Super Lig match against Bursaspor, and less than a minute later a suicide attacker blew himself up at a nearby park.

Turkish authorities said the attacks in which police officers accounted for most of dead were likely the work of Kurdish militants.

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