The Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief, one of the aid organizations behind the aid ship convoy to the Gaza Strip, had ties to several terrorism networks, including the al-Qaida, according to France’s former chief anti-terrorism judge.
IHH had “clear, long-standing ties to terrorism and Jihad,” Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who led the French judiciary’s counterterrorism unit until 2007, told the Associated Press.
“They were basically helping al-Qaida when [Osama] bin Laden started to want to target U.S. soil,” he said.
IHH denied any ties to radical groups.
“We are a legal organization,” IHH board member Omer Faruk Korkmaz said in response to Bruguiere’s claims. “We have nothing to do with any illegal organization.”
The organization is not among the approximately 45 groups classified as terrorists by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Countertorrorism, AP notes.