Israel voiced a protest to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for welcoming a delegation of Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement in Moscow. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization and its activities in the country are banned. Minister of Environment and Affairs of Jerusalem Zeev Elkin expressed the protest during a meeting with Russian FM Lavrov in Moscow, the Haaretz newspaper wrote.
According to the Israeli official, Salah al-Aruri, known as one of Hamas militant leaders, was among the members of the Hamas delegation in Moscow. The Israeli minister claimed that Salah al-Aruri receives money from Hamas and should be held accountable for organizing terrorist attacks in Judea and Somalia. According to Elkin, Salah al-Aruri is one of the masterminds of the abduction of three Israeli teenagers, who were brutally murdered. Moscow's decision to welcome such a person is a big mistake of the Russian authorities, Elkin concluded.
According to Elkin, the Russian Foreign Minister was surprised and promised to find out how Al-Aruri received a Russian visa. The Hamas delegation arrived in Moscow from Cairo last week.
Hamas has been recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel, Canada, the United States and Japan. The movement is banned in Jordan and Egypt. The Russian authorities do not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization, nor do they interfere with its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation. Russian President Putin refrains from public and personal contacts with Hamas representatives.