Turkish ISIL leader gave orders for major blasts, intelligence reveals
Fevzi Kızılkoyun - ANKARA
AFP photoIntelligence recovered during a raid on an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) cell has revealed an ISIL leader in Turkey was the one responsible for giving the orders for the militant group’s recent attacks in Turkey.
Information discovered during a raid on an ISIL cell in the southeastern province of Gaziantep revealed that İlhami Balı, 33, who is known by the code name “Ebubekir,” had given the orders for recent ISIL attacks in Turkey which caused hundreds of casualties. He reportedly ordered the twin bombings in Ankara on Oct. 10, the Suruç bombing in southeastern Şanlıurfa in July, the blast at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in southeastern Diyarbakır in June, the killing of a Turkish soldier on the Syria border and the kidnapping of another soldier in the same incident.
Balı is being sought with a red notice and 3 million Turkish Liras will be given to those who turn him in to the authorities. Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) wiretapped Balı’s phone until January 2014 but the location of some ISIL cells in Turkey could not be determined before they lost track of him.
Balı, born in southern Hatay province, has been monitored by intelligence forces since 2002 when he was arrested for charges of being a member of al-Qaeda. He remained in prison for three years. He went to Syria in 2012 and joined Al Nusra before joining ISIL in 2013.
Known as ISIL’s customs official, Balı was monitored by Turkey after he started to support ISIL militants who passed to Syria from Turkey. After January 2014, intelligence lost track of Balı.