Ankara bombers’ driver member of ISIL, ex-member of al-Nusra: Reports

Ankara bombers’ driver member of ISIL, ex-member of al-Nusra: Reports

Ankara bombers’ driver member of ISIL, ex-member of al-Nusra: Reports

AFP photo

One of the drivers of the two suicide bombers in the Ankara attack on Oct. 10 which killed 102 people, including the two bombers, has been identified as a former member of al-Nursa who is a current member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), state-run Anadolu Agency reported security officials as saying. 

One of the two suicide bombers, Yunus Emre Alagöz, who was identified through a DNA sample, and the other unidentified bomber, who was considered to be a foreigner, crossed into Turkey from Syria in the evening hours of Oct. 9, with the help of Halil İbrahim Durgun. 

The two suicide bombers were brought to a cell house in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep, where they were fitted with the suicide vests before setting out for Ankara in two cars. 

The first car was driven by Yakup Şahin, who was determined to be a former al-Nusra member and a current ISIL member, while the two suicide bombers were in the second car, which was driven by Durgun. 

Şahin’s role was as an observer for the safety of the second car, which contained the bombers. Durgun left the bombers on a side road of Konya Boulevard, from where they used two taxis to reach the main Ankara train station, the site of the bombing, though they had to leave the second taxi prior to reaching their destination as the roads had been blocked for the peace rally. 

It took them four minutes and 15 seconds for them to walk from the taxi to the front of the train station, where they detonated their explosive vests, while they spent only 45 minutes in Ankara in total. 

The investigation at the crime scene revealed there was not a third person at the bombing; it was conducted by just the two bombers and steel pellets were used to increase the bombs’ destructive power. The first bomber had four kilograms of TNT explosive material on him, while the second bomber, who detonated himself only 35 meters away from the first explosion, had five kilograms. The two bombers were also found carrying one hand grenade each. 

Meanwhile, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement that 1,199 people were caught trying to illegally cross the border from Syria into Turkey within the boundaries of the southern province of Kilis and one person was caught trying to cross into Syria from Turkey. Two of the detained suspects were reported to be members of ISIL. 

In a written statement issued by the governorate office of Kilis, 25 suspected members of ISIL, including 19 foreigners, were caught during operations in the province on Oct. 21. Three of the suspects were caught while trying to enter Turkey, while the other 22 suspects were caught while trying to cross into Syria. 

Şahin was reported to be arrested, while Durgun was reported to be on the loose.