ISIL militants killed in Ankara were in same ‘sleeper cell’ as Istanbul nightclub attacker
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
AA photoTwo Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants who were killed in a police operation on May 21 in Ankara are thought to have been members of the same “sleeper cell” as Uzbek-origin Abdulkadir Masharipov, who killed New Year’s Eve revelers at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub.
According to newly emerged information, the two killed ISIL militants were waiting for orders from the ISIL’s “sleeper cells” in Istanbul. Following the operation fake identity papers under the name “Sahman Zahir,” said to have been born in Syria’s Aleppo, were found on one of the militants.
The two ISIL members had reportedly been preparing for potential attacks in the capital, including on the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) extraordinary congress, Ankara Governor Ercan Topaca previously stated.
In a police raid on an apartment in Ankara’s Etimesgut district, the two ISIL militants, believed to be aged between 25 and 30, responded by attempting to engage in a gunfight but were killed by police officers early on May 21.
Topaca noted that the raid was conducted based on a testimony given by the Azerbaijani-origin ISIL militant Ebu Hüseyin Celilov in Istanbul.
Ankara police chief Mahmur Karaaslan said Celilov told the police that he was an ISIL member and directed the militants to an Ankara address.
Karaaslan also stated that the militants rented the apartment with fake identities.