Turkish police on Tuesday arrested an Israeli doctor suspected of being involved in an illegal ring of organ traders operating out of a private hospital in Istanbul.
The man, Professor Zaki Shapira, was arrested in the midst of a gun battle which erupted in the hospital last weekend after four armed men stormed the facility and demanded their money back.
According to Turkish media reports the four men opened fire at the medical staff and police were alerted to the scene, one of the policemen who responded to the call was wounded in the shootout.
After the incident police conducted a thorough investigation and found it had been ordered to close down by a court order more than a month earlier due to illegal organ transplants it carried out. The hospital had received numerous similar warnings in the past. Four patients were waiting in the hospital for transplants at the time of the incident.
Police detained 17 people for questioning – including Professor Shapira. Two Turkish doctors were also arrested.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem confirmed that Professor Shapira, formerly head of the Beilinson hospital transplant unit in Petah Tikva, was arrested. Ministry officials said that the Israeli embassy in Ankara and consul's office in Istanbul are providing the man with the necessary consular assistance.