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Terrorism: IHH - Insani Yardim Vakfi

The IHH, short for Insani Yardim Vakfi (the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief), is an Islamic charity group based in Istanbul, Turkey that was formed in the mid-1990s to provide aid to Bosnian Muslims. It is considered a terrorist organization by the Israeli government and has been accused of maintaining ties to terror organizations, including Hamas and the Union of Good, an Islamic umbrella affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

A 2006 report on “The Role of Islamic Charities in International Terrorist Recruitment and Financing,” published by the Danish Institute for International Studies, stated that the IHH maintained links with al-Qaida, in addition to other global jihad networks, and that the Turkish government launched an investigation into the IHH in December 1997 following intelligence that the group bought automatic weapons from Islamist terrorists. The Turkish government's subsequent raid on the organization's Istanbul offices turned up weapons, explosives and instructions for bomb-making. Documents also revealed the group was planning to take part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia.

French intelligence reports also found that the IHH's leader in the mid-1990s, B’ulent Yildirim, recruited soldiers for jihadist activities and that the IHH transferred money, firearms and explosives to jihadists in a number of Muslim countries. Another employee of IHH, Izzet Sahnin, was arrested by Israeli security outside of Bethlehem in April 2010 on Shin Bet suspicions that he “was working for an extended period of time in Judea and Samaria for the Turkish organization IHH, which Israel declared illegal in 2008,” and that his activities “endangered West Bank security”.

The group was one of the main planners of the Gaza flotilla on May 31, 2010.

Sources: Jerusalem Post; Reuters; Evan F. Kohlmann, “The Role of Islamic Charities in International Terrorist Recruitment and Financing,” Danish Institute for International Studies [PDF]