Turkish police seize 30 ISIL suicide vests, some ready for use
Ali Kayalar – ISTANBUL
The July 20 suicide attack in Turkey's Suruç killed 33 people.Turkish security officials have seized 30 suicide vests, some of them ready for use, in operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, a senior Turkish official has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“I cannot give you the technical details, but I can give you the number,” said the official, also adding that some people were detained in connection to the confiscated vests.
The senior official confirmed that some of the vests were allocated for potential attackers.
“Some of these vests were designated for specific individuals,” he said.
The official said the security forces discovered the attack plans, intimating that the seizures in one year likely prevented 30 suicide attacks in Turkey.
Mert Cömert, a 19-year-old man who was injured in the July 20 suicide bombing by ISIL in the southeastern district of Suruç, succumbed to his injuries on the morning of Aug. 14, becoming the 33rd person to die in the attack on a socialist youth group that was scheduled to visit the northern Syrian border city of Kobane to distribute toys to children and help in the town’s reconstruction following its destruction by invading ISIL forces.
In Istanbul, a senior police officer in charge of the city’s bomb disposal department was killed on Aug. 10 in clashes that followed a suicide bombing in the city’s Sultanbeyli district. A largely unknown group called The People’s Defense Unit initially claimed responsibility, although the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) military wing also subsequently said it carried out the attack, which resulted in the death of three militants.
The Turkish official also said more than 2,500 people have been detained in recent operations. Although the government said it was directing its efforts against ISIL, a majority of those detained have been members of the PKK, with smaller numbers coming from ISIL and the outlawed far-leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
The official, however, avoided giving an exact breakdown of the number of detained from each group.
Still, the official said the ratio of the people charged from among the ISIL suspects was 22 percent, higher than the figure for PKK suspects, which stood at 16 percent.
Since July 20, 39 security officials have been killed and 174 have been injured in terrorist attacks, he said.
Forty civilians have also been killed, with another 200 injured.