Over 40 ISIL-linked terror suspects detained nationwide
BURSA / ISTANBUL
In northwestern Bursa province, 26 suspects, including 12 Syrian nationals, were detained by counterterrorism units of the provincial police department, state-run Anadolu Agency quoted a security source as saying. The source asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
In central Konya province, police arrested nine people for their suspected links to ISIL, another source said.
Three more suspected members of the terrorist organization were arrested in Istanbul. Turkish police also confiscated a rifle, a gun, bullets and organizational materials during the operation in Istanbul.
The suspects were preparing a terror attack during the Republic Day ceremonies in Istanbul, the source said.
In a separate operation in southern Mersin province, five suspects were arrested. The suspects were plotting a terror attack, following the killing of ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Under Baghdadi, ISIL spread over wide segments of Iraq and Syria beginning in 2013, eventually claiming the formation of a “caliphate” in the region as it plotted and carried out gruesome attacks that reached far beyond its main territorial bastion. It further set up local affiliates in other regions as it released heinous execution videos on to the internet.
Baghdadi had been a top target for both the Trump and Obama administrations and had a $25 million bounty on his head.
As the U.S.-led coalition took back territories once under the terror group’s hold, Baghdadi increasingly stayed in the shadows, only rarely releasing pre-recorded audio messages to his followers.
Since Turkey recognized ISIL as a terrorist group in 2013, Turkey has been attacked by ISIL terrorists numerous times, including 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings and four armed attacks, altogether killing 315 people, including police officers and soldiers, and injuring hundreds.
In response to these attacks, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad, neutralizing 3,500 ISIL terrorists and arresting 5,500.