Israeli authorities said Tuesday they have arrested a Palestinian employee in Gaza of Turkey's international aid agency TIKA on accusations of diverting its project funds to Hamas.
It was the third such arrest in recent months by Israel, with a UN worker and the Gaza head of Christian charity World Vision having previously been accused of aiding Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
Israel's domestic security agency Shin Bet said Muhammad Murtaja, coordinator of the Gaza branch of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), was arrested last month.
It said he had duped TIKA, with the agency run by the office of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim unaware of his activities.
"The investigation showed that Murtaja deceived TIKA by misusing the organisation’s resources and funds, which were intended for substantial humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip, by diverting them to Hamas's military wing," Shin Bet said in a statement.
"This fraud was carried out in collusion with the senior ranks of Hamas in Gaza, headed by Ismail Haniya," it added, referring to Hamas's former top leader in Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the accusations were false and part of an effort by Israel to "strengthen the blockade on the Gaza Strip" by "terrorising international organisations so that they stop helping Gazans".
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu said "a request for information was sent to the Israeli authorities" and that the presumption of innocence until proven guilty must be respected.
"TIKA will continue, with care and selflessness, to carry out its projects to alleviate the pain being experienced by the whole of the Palestinian people, including in Gaza, as part of the 50-year occupation," since the Jewish state was established, the statement said.
More than two-thirds of Gaza's two million people depend on some form of foreign aid, with the Palestinian enclave hit by three wars against Israel since 2008 and under an Israeli blockade for a decade.
UN officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
Israel says it is needed to stop Hamas from importing weapons or materials that could be used to make them.
Shin Bet alleged Murtaja, around 40, had been active in Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, since 2009.
"His activity included... military training and exercises, manufacturing weapons and explosive devices and digging terror tunnels," it said.
It also alleged that "Murtaja’s trip via Israel to receive training from TIKA, which led to his arrest for interrogation, was also intended to allow him to acquire information that would improve the accuracy of Hamas rockets being launched at Israel."
Separately, Shin Bet accused a Turkish NGO, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), of helping "to directly fund the activities of the Hamas military wing".
Turkey and Israel recently restored diplomatic ties after a six-year rift.
Ties were damaged after Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship in 2010, sparking an unprecedented feud.
IHH organised the bid to break the Israeli blockade.
The rift between the one-time key allies ended in June last year after long-running secret talks.
In September, Israel paid $20 million in compensation and offered an apology over the raid while also granting Turkey permission to send aid to Gaza.