20 detained in Istanbul for suspected links to ISIL ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations
At least 20 people, including 15 foreign nationals, have been detained in Istanbul over their suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), police said on Dec. 31.
Anti-terror teams conducted simultaneous raids on four addresses in three districts in Istanbul after they were tipped off that the suspects were linked to ISIL leaders in Syria and Iraq.
According to the police, the suspects were planning an attack during New Year Eve’s celebrations in the city.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials caught the so-called “Raqqa prosecutor” of ISIL in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on Dec. 30.
Four Syrian nationals, including the suspect, were detained, and digital documents were seized in a raid security forces conducted on a house upon a tipoff, Doğan News Agency reported.
While three of the detained suspects were released after their procedures at a police station, the penal court of peace ruled the arrest of one suspect who was plotting an attack, the agency said.
The group insists Syria’s Raqqa is their self-proclaimed capital. But the group was defeated in its so-called capital mid-October with the help of the United States.
On Dec. 29, Turkish police in Istanbul and Ankara detained at least 75 people over suspected links to ISIL, police sources have said.
Anti-terrorism police conducted a series of dawn raids across the capital, detaining 29 people, according to the source.
The raids came after the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 46 suspects, the majority of whom were reportedly foreign nationals.
Some of the suspects are believed to have been preparing a terror attack on New Year’s Eve celebrations, the source added.
A manhunt was underway to apprehend the other suspects in Ankara.
Separately, 46 suspects - 43 of them foreign nationals - were detained in Istanbul, a police source said.
The source said the suspects held in Istanbul were also allegedly plotting an attack during the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
A large number of organizational documents and digital tools have been seized in the operations in both cities.
More than 300 people have lost their lives in ISIL-claimed attacks in Turkey, where the terror organization has targeted civilians in suicide bombings as well as rocket and gun attacks.
Turkish security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to thwart ISIL attacks.
Turkish authorities have recently stepped up security measures ahead of celebrations in the country.