Five ISIL suspects detained in Istanbul for ‘preparing for referendum attacks’
ISTANBULPolice in Istanbul detained five people with alleged links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on April 14 amid allegations that they were preparing for “sensational attacks” ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Counter-terrorism police conducted simultaneous operations in the Beyoğlu, Bahçelievler and Beykoz districts after receiving intelligence that ISIL militants were preparing for attacks.
Three suspects identified only as M.K.B, S.D, and N.Ç. were detained in the operations.
As part of the same operation, police also detained a Tajik national identified as F.A. and a Turkish national, E.N., who traveled to “conflict zones” and worked for the jihadist group in Istanbul.
ISIL called for attacks against the referendum in its Arabic and Turkish publications earlier this month.
Turkey is holding a referendum on April 16 on constitutional amendments that could replace the current parliamentary system with an executive presidential system.
The operation comes after police in the southern province of Mersin detained nine ISIL suspects who were allegedly ordered to carry out attacks on ballot boxes in a similar plot on April 12.
Separately, police detained two Syrian suspects during an operation against the jihadist group late on April 13.
The suspects, Y.K. and A.E.E., allegedly provided fake Syrian IDs for those who would join ISIL from abroad and transferred money on behalf of the jihadist group.
Police also seized mobile phones, passports and identity cards during searches at the residences of the suspects.
A total of 131 suspected ISIL militants were detained in operations carried out between April 6 and 12, according to the Interior Ministry.