| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Hundreds gather in Istanbul to mourn two Turks killed in Lebanon

Several hundred mourners gathered outside an Istanbul mosque on Friday to mourn the deaths of two Turkish men killed earlier this week in Israeli bombings on south Lebanon, according to the militant Islamist group Hamas.

The strikes on Tuesday killed nine individuals, including two journalists, two other civilians, and five Hamas members, including a senior member of the militant group.

Hamas has said the two Turks were in a car carrying five people who were all killed. Lebanese authorities have not commented on the Turks’ deaths or the circumstances under which they came to be in Lebanon.

About 400 people, many of them waving green and white Hamas flags, joined funeral prayers for the two Turkish men, Seyfullah Bilal Ozturk and Yakup Erdal, outside the Beyazit Mosque in the heart of Istanbul’s historic district.

“The martyrs’ blood will drown Israel,” said a large banner held by some of those attending.

Some were crying and some celebrating what they described as the martyrdom of the two men, chanting, “We will continue on the martyrs’ path”.

“I’ve known Bilal since he was young. They were beautiful people who really devoted their lives to this path,” said Ramazan Ileri, an acquaintance of Ozturk’s.

“God willing, may God bless their martyrdom. They gave up their lives for this cause and they set an example for us.”

  • Reuters