Police detain 15 in İzmir-based anti-ISIL operation

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Turkish police detained 15 people in operations targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in İzmir and İstanbul on Friday.

The two detainees in İstanbul and 13 in İzmir were brought to the Counterterrorism Unit at the respective provincial police stations. The police seized four hunting rifles and documents belonging to ISIL.

The suspects were accused of carrying out activities for ISIL, crossing to Syria to fight on behalf of the terrorist group and sending members to the conflict zone.

The suspects were also accused of training Savaş Yıldız and sending him to Syria to fight alongside ISIL. Yıldız has been sought by the police and was believed to be the perpetrator of the bomb attacks at the rally of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) organized in Adana and Mersin last year.

The March 19 suicide bomb attack on central İstanbul’s İstiklal Street killed five, including three Israelis and one Iranian, and wounded 36 others. Turkish authorities identified the suicide bomber Mehmet Öztürk as a Turkish member of ISIL who was born in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

The attack on İstiklal Street, İstanbul’s most popular shopping thoroughfare, appeared similar to a January suicide bombing blamed on ISIL that killed at least 12 German tourists in the city’s historic center.

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