Iraq News

Turkey detains 450 ISIL suspects in nationwide sweep

Turkish police on Sunday (February 5th) detained almost 450 suspected "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) members in nationwide raids just over a month after an attack on an Istanbul nightclub claimed by the group, AFP reported.

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

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

During the operation, 150 suspects, all Syrians, were rounded up in raids on hotels and private homes in Sanliurfa in the south-east, Dogan said.

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

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

One of the suspects detained in Izmir -- a Syrian identified only as E.A. -- is said to have been in touch with people smugglers in a bid to help ISIL members escape to Europe.

Eighteen people were detained in Istanbul and the neighbouring province of Kocaeli on suspicion of planning attacks. Another 14 foreigners were due to be deported, including 10 children.

Meanwhile in Eskisehir east of Istanbul, nine people were detained on suspicion of membership in al-Nusra Front (ANF), now known as Fatah al-Sham Front, al-Qaeda's former affiliate in Syria.

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