Turkey foiled major ISIL attack on G-20: Prosecutor

Turkey foiled major ISIL attack on G-20: Prosecutor

Turkey foiled major ISIL attack on G-20: Prosecutor

A file photo from a police raid on a terrorist cell in Gaziantep from where computer data on the foiled attack was gathered. DHA Photo

Turkey has allegedly foiled a major terrorist attack targeting the G-20 Summit in the Mediterranean province of Antalya after warnings by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. 

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants planned a major attack targeting the G-20 Summit, as well as 26 other terrorist attacks in 18 Turkish provinces, according to data gathered from a computer seized during a raid on an ISIL terrorist cell in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, daily Hürriyet reported.

The raid on the terrorist cell in Gaziantep was conducted during the investigation into the twin Ankara blasts that left more than 100 dead on Oct. 10.

The computer seized during the Gaziantep cell raid was believed to be used by Gaziantep ISIL leader identified as Yunus Durmaz.

According to the data, ISIL militants conducted initial inspections of the hotel world leaders stayed during the G-20 Summit, which was held in Antalya’s Belek district on Nov. 15 and 16.

The security level at the popular resort area was set high, however, due to a warning from the prosecutor’s office.

Data gathered from Durmaz’s computer also revealed ISIL militants planned terrorist attacks targeting public places both in the Aegean province of İzmir and Istanbul.

Jews, Alevis and a number of left-wing organizations were among those blacklisted by ISIL militants, according to the data.

On Nov. 14, Turkish counterterrorism police raided an ISIL terrorist cell in Gaziantep and confiscated hundreds of digital documents related to the terrorist organization, which later appeared to reveal close ties between the cell and ISIL in Syria. 

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Oct. 18 that data gathered from Durmaz’s computer revealed that Durmaz wrote a Syria-based ISIL leader a note in which he penned the need to recruit militants for terrorist acts in provinces such as Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir, Antalya and in the southern provinces of Adana, Hatay and Mersin.

Meanwhile, some of the eight Moroccan ISIL militants detained and questioned in the Istanbul Atatürk Airport on Nov. 18 were deported, Reuters quoted a government official as saying.

“The individuals were detained in accordance with the assessment of on-site criminal profilers, who flagged the Moroccan nationals as terror suspects,” the official said. 

“While some of the detainees have been deported, others remain in custody pending their interrogation.” 

The official said authorities were unable to authenticate a document allegedly outlining the group’s travel itinerary, which appeared in the Turkish media. Authorities were also unable to confirm whether the individuals were attempting to enter Europe by disguising themselves as refugees.

According to security sources, eight people arrived on Nov. 17 in the Istanbul Atatürk Airport from Casablanca to visit Istanbul for “touristic purposes,” claiming they had hotel reservations. 

However, criminal profilers working to inhibit foreigners from joining the ranks of ISIL grew skeptical of the group and further questioned their testimonies inside “interrogation rooms.”

While the suspects were identified as N.Y., S.H., A.M., S.A., S.S., M.E.A., M.M. and A.S., a police investigation revealed the group did not actually have hotel reservations. 

Turkey has stepped up anti-terror operations against ISIL after the group was implicated in the Oct. 10 Ankara blasts, the twin bombings that killed more than 100 civilians and wounded hundreds of others ahead of a peace-themed demonstration outside a train station in Ankara.

More than 1,000 suspects have been detained on suspicion of ISIL links since the beginning of the year. Ankara, however, declared what it described as a “synchronized war on terror” in July, referring to both the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and ISIL.