11 ISIL suspects detained in Turkish capital

11 ISIL suspects detained in Turkish capital

11 ISIL suspects detained in Turkish capital A total of 11 suspects were detained yesterday in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, for recruiting militants for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and having connections with the group, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

Ankara counter-terrorism police conducted an operation early Jan. 25 targeting a group of suspects called “Tatlıbal” who had long been under surveillance. Ten suspects were detained in the operation, which was also supported by a special operations team. Unregistered riffles, guns and organizational documents were also seized during the operation.

The suspects have been taken to Ankara Security General Directorate after a health check.

The move came two days after 23 suspected ISIL militants, along with 21 children, were detained while attempting to enter Turkey from Syria in southeastern Turkey.

The Turkish army said the 23 suspects, whose nationalities were not disclosed, were captured on Jan. 23 as they tried to enter Elbeyli, a district in the southeastern province of Kilis.  

“Twenty-three people suspected of being Daesh terror group members, together with 21 children, were caught,” said the army in a written statement, without giving any other details. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIL and commonly used by Turkish officials to refer to ISIL.

Two other suspected ISIL militants were also apprehended the next day, on Jan. 24, in the southeastern province of Kilis. Although their identities were not disclosed, the suspects were foreign nationals and were accompanied by two children. 

“A total of four persons, two suspected ISIL militants and two children, were apprehended by our security forces in the Çıldıroba village of Elbeyli district for attempting to cross the border into Syria,” the Kilis Governor’s Office said in an official statement.

Turkey has been under pressure to step up security against suspected ISIL militants operating in the country, after initial criticism that it acted too slowly to recognize the threat. 

ISIL was blamed for a bomb that killed four people at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 5, 2015. An ISIL militant also killed 33 civilians on July 20, 2015, at the Amara Cultural Center in the southeastern district of Suruç. Two ISIL militants then killed at least 100 people attending a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, in the deadliest attack in the country’s history. On Jan. 12, the group was also blamed for a suicide attack that killed 10 German tourists near the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.