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Police detain 50 in al-Qaeda raids

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency | 10/15/2009 12:00:00 AM |

Turkish police detained 50 people in two operations launched simultaneously in nine provinces against local al-Qaeda cells on Thursday.

Turkish police detained 50 people in two operations launched simultaneously in nine provinces against local al-Qaeda cells on Thursday. The suspects, believed to be members of the Islamic Jihad League, a group linked to al-Qaeda, were allegedly plotting to attack NATO installations in Turkey and Germany.

The operations by the police departments of Istanbul and Van were carried out in the provinces of Istanbul, Van, Bursa, Erzurum, Sakarya, Konya, Hatay, Batman and Adana. Six people were detained in Istanbul on suspicion of involvement in the November 2003 Istanbul bombings that targeted synagogues, the British Consulate and a bank.

The operation carried out by the Van Police Department resulted in 44 detentions, all believed to be members of the Islamic Jihad League.

The Islamic Jihad League is suspected of terrorist activities in Central Asia and members were recently said to be planning attacks on NATO installations in Turkey and Germany.

It was reported that those detained were trained in Afghanistan and had planned to attack NATO installations as revenge for NATO operations in Afghanistan.

It is believed that remarks in which al-Qaeda’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, threatened Turkey hastened plans to carry out attacks on NATO installations in the country. It is also believed that the leader of the Turkish terror cell tasked with planning the attack was killed in a NATO operation in Afghanistan. One of the Turkish members of the Islamic Jihad League was arrested in Germany in 2007.

The name of the Islamic Jihad League was made known in 2004 after its members attacked the embassies of Israel and the United States in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The operations of the Van and Istanbul police departments were ongoing as the Daily News went to press.

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