Suspects blow up themselves, 3 officers killed in ISIL raids in Gaziantep

Suspects blow up themselves, 3 officers killed in ISIL raids in Gaziantep

Suspects blow up themselves, 3 officers killed in ISIL raids in Gaziantep

AA photo

Three police officers were killed and eight others were wounded on Oct. 16 in an explosion that occurred when a suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant detonated himself during a raid on a house in the Şahinbey district of the southeastern province of Gaziantep, while another suspect also detonated himself during a separate operation in the province.

The raid came after Gaziantep police received information about a cell that was suspected of plotting a suicide bomb attack on an Alevi cultural association center in the city. Arriving the Güneykent neighborhood of Şahinbey and closing the entrances and exits to the area, police entered the cell house. After seeing the police, a militant inside the house reportedly detonated himself. 

Three police officers were killed in the explosion and eight people, four of whom are of Syrian origin, were wounded, Gaziantep Gov. Ali Yerlikaya said as he visited the scene. The governor also said an ISIL militant was found dead at the scene after the explosion. 

Gaziantep police on Sept. 17 detained a suspected ISIL militant who possessed pictures of a cemevi, a house of worship used by adherents of the Alevi sect, and was confirmed to be preparing a terror attack.  

Interrogating the suspect after his detention, police confirmed a terror attack plot targeting the cemevi in the Düztepe neighborhood of Gaziantep and initiated wide measures around the house of worship, suspecting the attack still could be carried by militants in contact with the detainee.

On Sept. 23 police had also taken extensive measures upon intelligence of a possible bomb attack by ISIL targeting Friday prayers.

Security measures were taken in all mosques across Gaziantep as police closed roads and put barricades around the central Ulu Camii. Worshippers were only able to enter the mosque after a body search.

Militant detonates self in second raid 

Police teams, meanwhile, initiated a search inside the house and seized a computer and hard disks for further inspection.  

Meanwhile, a couple of hours after the initial operation at the ISIL cell house, police teams conducted another raid on an apartment in the Burak neighborhood of the Gazikent district in Gaziantep as they suspected a link between the two addresses. 

In the raid, another explosion occurred on the third and fourth floors of the apartment as another ISIL militant reportedly detonated himself during the operation.

The suspect was identified as Mehmet Kadir Cabel, ISIL’s provincial leader who was tasked with planning attacks, providing financial support and administering the suicide bomb cells in the city for the group, according to security sources. 

Cabel’s two children and wife were captured alive in the operation.