ISIL militants tracked for two years, indictment reveals
GAZİANTEPPolice in the southeastern province of Gaziantep monitored from 2012 to 2014 some 19 then-al-Qaeda now-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, including Yunus Durmaz, the mastermind of the Suruç and Ankara bomb attacks and former so-called Turkey “emir” of the group, an indictment has revealed.
A total of 19 militants of the group, along with eight fugitive suspects and Durmaz, who blew himself up during a police raid in late May, were physically and technologically tracked by the police for two years, according to the document. Information and pictures obtained during this two-year tracking period were included in the indictment of an ISIL case opened in March.
According to the information gathered during this period, Durmaz and other militants often attended organizational meetings at two associations in Gaziantep. The documents showed that as part of their operational training, the group carried out paintball competitions, field football matches and other workout exercises in a field in the province along with a group of children.
Some other activities of the group included attending funerals for people linked to their organization, attending weddings and waving ISIL flags, carrying out meetings in forested areas and holding charity sales for the organization throughout 2013.
The indictment also underscored that the group conducted organizational education for children in their association buildings and rejected joining regular Islamic prayers by imams to the extent that they, with a group of 70 people, held their own “alternative” Eid and Friday prayers.
The report said that Nusret Yılmaz, one of the group’s members, along with another suspect identified as İ.H.K. collected money to be used in ISIL financing in August 2012. Another member, Ahmet Güneş, was involved in selling leather in December 2012 for the organization’s financing, the report added.
Eight of the 19 suspects were arrested during anti-ISIL operations conducted throughout 2015, the report showed, while suspects Ahmet Güneş, Talha Güneş, Nusret Yılmaz, İlyas Kaya, Cebrail Kaya, Abidin Aygün, Kürşat Akçiçek and İsmail Pektaş were currently in Syria fighting for the organization.
Meanwhile, six ISIL militant suspects detained by Istanbul anti-terror teams have been linked to two suicide bomb vests found abandoned on a highway in southern Turkey in early June.
While carrying out a raid on an ISIL cell in Istanbul’s Sancaktepe district last week, police teams captured six militants, who were later arrested by a court. During their detention, police found that the fingerprints of the militants matched the fingerprints found on two active suicide bomb vests found on the side of a road in the Tarsus district of the southern province of Mersin on June 9.
Upon further inspections, police confirmed that the captured militants were the ones who had smuggled the vests into Turkey to be used in potential ISIL attacks in the country.
According to police reports, the suspects also confessed that they threw the vests to the side of the road after they thought highway construction teams they had spotted further down the road were police officers.