Internationally sought ISIL militant caught in Istanbul
ISTANBULAn Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant sought by Interpol was apprehended during an anti-terror operation in Istanbul.
Police launched an operation five days ago upon receiving intelligence that the jihadist group was preparing to stage an attack and raided a house in the Fatih district, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 15.
The militant, identified only as Mehdi A., was apprehended in the operation carried out jointly by special forces police after technical tracking and intelligence works.
Authorities have determined that the Belgian jihadist arrived in Istanbul to stage attacks and is the organizer of ISIL’s actions in Europe.
He was on Interpol and Belgium’s list of sought individuals for three years due to his suspected connections to the previous deadly bomb attacks in Europe.
Mehdi A. was also determined to be responsible of the French militants and joined the jihadist group in 2014 by traveling to Syria with his wife and child.
Police started tracking him upon discovering he had sent his family back to Belgium and examined thousands of security footage to apprehend him.
After locating the hotels he stayed in, police evaluated that his last destination was Fatih.
Authorities said he did not have any contact with any ISIL cell and was staying in a house with Arabs who were in legal professions.
Mehdi A. will reportedly be extradited to Belgium after legal procedures are completed.