Thursday 24 August 2017

Turkey arrests more than 440 Isil suspects in dawn swoops

Anti-terrorism police break down a door during an operation to arrest people over alleged links to Isil in Adiyaman, Turkey (Mahir Alan/Dha-Depo Photos via AP)
Anti-terrorism police break down a door during an operation to arrest people over alleged links to Isil in Adiyaman, Turkey (Mahir Alan/Dha-Depo Photos via AP)

Tom Muirfield

Turkey's anti-terrorism police detained more than 440 people yesterday for alleged links to Isil.

The coordinated raids were believed to be linked to the hunt for the perpetrators of the bloody massacre at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve.

At least 60 suspects, the vast majority of them foreigners, were taken into custody in the capital, Ankara.

A total of 445 people were detained in simultaneous pre-dawn police operations that spanned several cities, including Istanbul and Gaziantep, near the border with Syria.

The largest operation was in the southeast province of Sanliurfa, where police took into custody more than 100 suspects from multiple addresses and found materials relating to Isil militants.

Security forces also apprehended nine suspects who were allegedly preparing an attack in the northwestern city of Izmir.

There were 10 minors among the foreigners detained in Istanbul and the northwestern province of Kocaeli.

Turkey, which last year endured a failed coup attempt and dozens of bloody attacks linked to Isil or Kurdish militants, has been stepping up its anti-terrorism efforts.

Isil claimed responsibility for the mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people in the early hours of January 1.

It claims to have multiple cells in Turkey.

Turkey is a member of the Nato alliance and the US-led coalition against Isil. It shares borders with Syria and Iraq, two war-torn nations at the heart of the fight against Isil militants.

Turkish forces have been deployed in Syria since August with the aim of clearing a border patch of Isil militants and Syrian Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers related to its own Kurdish insurgency.

Some of those taken into custody yesterday were allegedly active in conflict zones and others engaged in recruitment efforts for Isil by relaying its propaganda over social media.

Irish Independent

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