Israel arrested the representative of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) on Monday as he was travelling through the Erez Crossing on the border of the blockaded Gaza Strip, Anadolu news agency has reported.
The Media Director at the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry named the man as Mohamed Mortaja. “He is a Palestinian from Gaza, and TİKA’s coordinator in the territory,” explained Mohamed Al-Maqadmeh. “He had a one-day travel permit, but spent all night in detention and we are now sure that he has been arrested.”
Anadolu said that neither Israel nor TİKA has yet commented on Mortaja’s detention, noting that the reason behind the detention is still unknown.
Mortaja has been working with TİKA since 2013 as its representative in the besieged enclave. Recently, the Israeli occupation authorities have arrested a number of Palestinians who are working with foreign aid agencies, claiming that they are channelling money to Hamas.
Last year, for example, the Israelis arrested Mohamed Al-Halaby, director of Euro Vision in Gaza, claiming that he had directed millions of dollars to the Islamic movement. The organisation denied the allegations. Nevertheless, Al-Halaby is still in detention. After the arrest of a USAID worker, who was also accused of helping Hamas last year, similar denials were met with his release from custody.