Police bust ISIL suicide bomber cell in Turkey’s south
ADANAAnti-terror police have busted an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suicide bomber cell in an operation in the southern province of Adana.
A total of 12 suspects, including two children, caught in the operation carried out in the Seyhan district on June 22 were referred to court on July 5.
ISIL’s Adana “emir,” identified only by the initials A.Ç., was also among those detained.
During their interrogations, the suspects confessed to forming a cell house to recruit militants and send money, food and clothes to jihadists in Syria.
After a month of technical and physical tracking, it was determined that A.Ç. was recruiting militants through encrypted conversations over social media.
After investigating the conversations on social media, the authorities found out that 12 people, of whom two were children, arrived in Adana from Istanbul, the Central Anatolian province of Konya, the northwestern province of Bursa and the western province of İzmir to illegally cross into Syria and receive suicide bombing training.
According to the officials, six of the suspects then planned to re-enter Turkey to carry out bomb attacks in several provinces. Sketches of the planned attack sites were found in the searches carried out in the cell house.
Moreover, a 14-year-old Indonesian girl, identified only as E.U., was apprehended in the house of a 36-year-old suspect, identified only by the initials as S.Y. It was determined that the ISIL suspect “bought and married” the girl a year ago. The search to apprehend him is ongoing.
Several of the suspects, meanwhile, admitted to be preparing to carry out suicide attacks, while denying the planned attack sites were inside Turkey.
“Turkey is our country. We only stage attacks abroad,” two of the suspects reportedly said, adding that the planned destinations were Germany, France, Britain, Belgium and Russia.
However, police found out that four of the jihadists were planning to attack several religious group meetings in Konya and the southeastern province of Gaziantep.
The suspects also said they were told that “heaven is guaranteed if they kill infidels and become martyrs.”
“The war is being lost. We will make you fight in order for you to win heaven,” the suspects were allegedly told by ISIL.
Several of the suspects were sentenced to jail over using and trafficking drugs, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
In addition, Mahmut Kılıçaslan, 34, who made headlines last year after shouting that he was a suicide bomber at a mosque, is among those detained. Kılıçaslan, whose trial without arrest regarding the incident is ongoing, is reportedly among ISIL figures in the province.
Kılıçaslan told prayers inside the Adana Merkez Sabancı Mosque that he had a bomb on himself on July 1, 2016, before showing the home-made explosives tied around his belly.
Because of a stampede that occurred after panic, 11 people were wounded as police officers caught Kılıçaslan.
The prayers then attempted to lynch Kılıçaslan and a complaint was filed against him over “preventing the use of the freedom of belief, thought and opinion,” “wounding with eventual intent,” “being member of an armed terrorist organization,” “possessing dangerous materials without permission” and “threatening people to incite fear and panic,” with the prosecutor seeking 70 years of prison sentence. He was arrested after the incident, before being released on Jan. 26.
Kılıçaslan was reported to be among the frequent visitors of the ISIL cell house.
Elsewhere, ISIL operations, centered in the eastern province of Van, were carried out in nine provinces.
Some 25 people were detained in the operations conducted to prevent bomb attacks.
Another operation was carried out against suspected ISIL and al-Nusra militants in Istanbul. Six addresses were raided during the operation conducted with aerial support.
Police found weapons, knives and jihadist documents in the operation and detained six suspects.