Turkish police detain 9 suspected ISIL militants for ‘planning attacks on referendum ballot boxes’

Turkish police detain 9 suspected ISIL militants for ‘planning attacks on referendum ballot boxes’

Turkish police detain 9 suspected ISIL militants for ‘planning attacks on referendum ballot boxes’ Police in the southern province of Mersin have detained nine suspected militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after receiving intelligence that the jihadist group ordered its followers to carry out attacks on ballot boxes set for the April 16 referendum, which will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted into an executive presidency.

The Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office released a statement regarding the operation carried out on April 12, saying that the efforts to reveal ISIL’s acts were launched by the provincial police’s counter-terrorism bureau in coordination with the prosecutor’s office. 

“In the efforts, it was determined that terrorist organizations and several groups may stage provocative acts in order to prevent the referendum process from being carried out safely. It was also determined that ISIL called on its militants to attack all ballot boxes,” the statement read, adding that detentions were carried out in central Mersin, as well as its Mut and Tarsus districts. 

Six people, identified only by the initials Z.B.; A.E.; S.A.M.; A.J.A.; M.M. and M.N., were detained in central Mersin, while two suspects, identified only as A.T. and E.E., and another one, identified as A.A., were detained in operations in Tarsus and Mut, respectively. 

The efforts to apprehend three fugitive militants are ongoing. 

A number of documents, books, magazines and digital material related to ISIL were confiscated in the operation, as well as an unlicensed shotgun and cartridges. 

Another anti-ISIL operation was carried out in the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale, where three addresses were raided by the police simultaneously. Five people, identified as D.C.; E.Y.; N.F.; O.A. and K.A., were detained. 

As a part of the same operation, a suspect, identified only by the initials H.T.T., was detained in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. A weapon and documents related to ISIL were seized in the operations. 

Meanwhile, an ISIL militant planning to carry out a suicide attack in Gaziantep was detained and arrested in the border province of Kilis. The Chechen-origin militant, identified only as D.G., was attempting to cross into Turkey from Syria illegally to stage the attack. 

The gendarmerie determined that ISIL was planning to send suicide bombers to Turkey and increased precautions in the border area.
After determining the militant was planning to arrive to Turkey on April 4, the security forces staged an operation and detained D.G. along with a group of 18 people. 

Two hand grenades and 750 grams of C4 type explosive belts were found on the militant. The explosives were detonated under control and the militant was taken into interrogation. 

D.G. said he was assigned by ISIL militants in Raqqa to carry out an attack in Gaziantep. 

Elsewhere, the Interior Ministry on April 13 announced that a total of 131 suspected ISIL militants were detained in operations carried out between April 6 and 12. A number of weapons, ammunition and ISIL-related documents were confiscated in the operations carried out in 13 provinces during the period.