ISIL suspects arrested after tunneling into Turkey

ISIL suspects arrested after tunneling into Turkey

ISIL suspects arrested after tunneling into Turkey

DHA Photo

Turkey has arrested nine suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including three Iraqi nationals who infiltrated into Turkish territory after tunneling under the three-meter-high concrete walls erected by Ankara to prevent the illegal passage of jihadists and war material into the country.

Four ISIL suspects, including three Iraqis and a Syrian, identified as O.O., A.C.M., O.A. and M.H. were detained by officers from the Pazarcık gendarmerie command in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş on March 27. 

Reports suggested the suspects infiltrated into Turkish territory by digging a tunnel under the country’s newly-erected concrete walls, which stretch across a 70-km strip from east of Kilis to Karkamış along the Syrian border. 

The suspects were caught as the gendarmerie conducted a search of a passenger bus at the entrance to Aksu Bridge in Pazarcık’s Narlı neighborhood. 

All four suspects were brought before a court in Pazarcık, which arrested the three Iraqis for “membership of a terror organization.” The Syrian suspect, M.H., was released by the court pending trial. 

Meanwhile, six ISIL militants suspected of preparing a car bomb attack were arrested in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. According to reports, one of the suspects had links to fugitive suspects of the Oct. 10, 2015, twin blasts near the Ankara Train Station which killed 102 people ahead of a demonstration by peace activists. 

Gaziantep’s anti-terror police launched an operation upon receiving intelligence that specially-trained ISIL militants were preparing for a car bomb attack in Turkish territory. 

Four Syrian ISIL militants were apprehended, one of whom allegedly had ties with suspects linked to the Oct. 10, 2015, suicide bomb attacks in Ankara who remain at large. 

After interrogating the suspects, police detained two other ISIL militants.

All six militants were arrested by a local court. 

Turkey has recently been targeted by successive terror attacks, the latest on March 19 when a suicide bomb attack hit busy İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul’s central Taksim district. 

The attack in Istanbul came six days after a suicide car bomb attack in the heart of the capital city Ankara, which killed 37 people.

In January, a suicide bomber killed around 10 people, most of them German tourists, in the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet, an attack the government blamed on ISIL.