Turkey detains over 400 suspected ISIS members

Turkish police detain almost 450 suspected ISIS members in nationwide raids.

Ben Ariel ,

Islamic State (ISIS) flag
Islamic State (ISIS) flag

Turkish police on Sunday detained almost 450 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) group members in nationwide raids, AFP reported.

Security forces rounded up 448 suspects, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, in Turkey's biggest police operation against ISIS since the New Year’s Eve attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul that killed 39.

Among those detained were foreigners and those suspected of planning attacks in Turkey, the local Dogan and Anadolu news agencies reported.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Istanbul attack, and later reports said that Abdulgadir Masharipov, the terrorist who carried it out, told police he acted on direct orders from ISIS in Syria.

During Sunday’s operation, according to AFP, 150 suspects, all Syrians, were rounded up in raids on hotels and private homes in Sanliurfa in the southeast.

Another 47 were detained in the nearby city of Gaziantep close to the Syrian border which has a known jihadist presence while 38 were picked up in Hatay, also bordering Syria.

60 suspects, mostly foreigners, were detained in four districts in the capital Ankara.

Dozens more arrests were made in provinces ranging from Bursa in the west to Antalya on the Mediterranean and Bingol in the east.

In the Aegean city of Izmir, nine people suspected of travelling to and from Syria and planning attacks in the city were detained, Anadolu said.

Police detained Masharipov, an Uzbek national, on January 16 after more than two weeks on the run and authorities say he has confessed to the massacre.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet later reported that ISIS had also planned a simultaneous New Year's strike in Ankara but dropped the plot after arrests by the Turkish authorities.

An Istanbul court on Friday placed a dozen people under arrest ahead of trial over the nightclub plot, including Masharipov's wife Zarina Nurullayeva, according to AFP.