Terrorism

Turkey detains top ISIS member: minister

By AFP

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Members of the Turkish special police force take part in a house raid to arrest suspected ISIS elements in Adana, on November 10th, 2017. [Stringer/Dogan News Agency/AFP]

Turkey has captured a top "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) member responsible for operations on its territory, the interior minister announced on Tuesday (September 1st).

The extremist group has claimed responsibility for a spate of deadly attacks in Turkey, including an assault on an upscale Istanbul nightclub during New Year's Eve festivities just minutes into 2017, which left 39 people, including tourists, dead.

"ISIS's so-called Turkey emir (commander) has been captured and detained," Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted, praising the Turkish police.

Speaking to reporters later, Soylu identified the suspect as Mahmut Ozden, adding that he was captured after the August 18th arrest of another ISIS member who was allegedly planning an attack in Istanbul.

The suspect received orders from Syria and Iraq and was also asked to organise small-scale protests in Turkey, Soylu said in televised remarks.

The minister said police had also uncovered plans for several ISIS attacks, including a kidnapping plot.

"There is an ongoing operation" to locate other suspects, he said.

Turkey has stepped up its campaign against ISIS at home and abroad, and allowed its territory to be used as a staging post for raids by a US-led international coalition battling extremists in Syria.

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