Turkish police crack down on ISIL as death toll rises

Turkish police crack down on ISIL as death toll rises

Turkish police crack down on ISIL as death toll rises

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A total of 22 people accused of having links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were detained in Istanbul and the western province of İzmir on June 30, as Turkish police launched a wide-scale crackdown on the group following the Istanbul Atatürk Airport suicide attacks that killed 44 people and wounded 239.

A total of 13 people, four of whom are foreigners, have been detained in Istanbul as police initiated a dawn operation on 16 different addresses in several districts, including Pendik, Başakşehir and Sultanbeyli.

In İzmir, police simultaneously raided various addresses in the Konak, Buca, Karabağlar and Bornova districts early in the morning, detaining nine people suspected of being ISIL members. 

In the operation conducted by some 200 police officers, a number of organizational documents, three rifles and digital data were seized. Police said the detainees were in contact with group members in Syria and were acting in İzmir for the group’s benefit, providing financial support, recruits, and logistical support.

Meanwhile, details of the ISIL suicide bomb attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport continue to emerge, with police finding that the three bombers were of Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationality. 

Finding the passport of the Russian attacker in a cell house in Istanbul’s Fatih district, police said he was of Dagestani origin and entered Turkey with a false passport around one month ago. 

The police investigation further revealed that the three bombers stayed in the apartment in Fatih ahead of the attack. The reports showed that the attackers rented the flat three months ago by making a cash payment. 

Police have also revealed critical details on how the attack was organized and carried out. According to the reports, the attackers initially took a taxi from a street close to Vatan Street in the Fatih district with three backpacks and luggage and told the driver to take them to the Atatürk Airport. 

Arriving at the airport, without being stopped for a police check, the attackers got out of the taxi in front of the international arrivals terminal. The attackers, who later wore their suicide belts and took up their Kalashnikovs hidden in their luggage, left the gate with each of them heading their planned spots to carry out the attacks. 

One of the attackers headed to the airport’s parking garage, the other headed to international arrival Gate A, and the third one headed to the international departures terminal, sources said. All casualties occurred in the two explosions inside and outside the airport’s international arrivals terminal. Accordingly, there were no casualties in the third explosion as one of the police officers engaged the attacker.

Reports also state that the attackers planned to take dozens of passengers hostage inside the terminal and then blow them up together with themselves. As they were countered by a police officer at the terminal’s entrance, the plot was not carried out as planned, reports added.