Three ISIL suspects arrested on Turkish-German intel
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyThree suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were detained in Istanbul on March 22 following intelligence received by police concerning a planned attack targeting German institutions and schools in the city.
Intelligence and counter-terrorism police units elaborated on the recent terror intelligence which led to the closure of the German consulate in Istanbul and Deutsche Schule Istanbul last week.
Three suspects, Muhammet Nas along with Iraqi İbrahim Ghanem Alshalawey and Syrian Ali Al Faraç, were detained in a joint operation with Turkish and German intelligence units for planning attacks on German institutions and schools in the city.
The suspects were taken to the anti-terror directorate branch on Istanbul’s Vatan Street, while security procedures were ongoing.
The German Foreign Office had closed down the German embassy and the German consulate in Istanbul on March 17 and March 18, along with a German school in Ankara and Deutsche Schule Istanbul, over terror concerns.
Three Israelis and one Iranian were killed and more than 30 were injured in a suicide bomb attack on March 19 in central Istanbul on the city’s busy İstiklal Avenue.
ISIL-linked Mehmet Öztürk was identified as the bomber. He had been spotted by intelligence services as a “supporter of a terrorist group,” but he was not in the national judiciary informatics system (UYAP), Turkish security and intelligence sources stated.
Sources also said the attacker’s image was in the photo archive of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the security directorate, despite his lack of a criminal record, as the archive includes pictures taken during passport controls.
As Öztürk had traveled back and forth from Turkey to Syria many times and was determined to be “in contact” with others affiliated with terrorist groups, he was filed as a “supporter of a terrorist group” in security archives.
The German consulate’s high school in the city, Deutsche Schule Istanbul, reopened on March 23.
The German embassy in Ankara and the German consulate in Istanbul remained closed over the threat of a possible attack, while the Dutch consulate in Istanbul was closed on March 23 due to “terror threats,” the Dutch Foreign Ministry announced.
The announcement said the consulate would be closed due to “terror threats” until future notice.