A senior figure in the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group described as the slain leader’s “right-hand man” has been captured by police in İstanbul, Agence France-Presse reported, citing local media on Sunday.
Officers detained the Afghan man, whose codename is “Basim,” during a joint raid with Turkish intelligence agents in the Ataşehir district on the city’s Asian side.
ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in 2019 in a US special forces raid carried out with the help of Kurdish fighters in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
Turkish media reported that the man captured had helped Baghdadi hide in Idlib.
The suspect was also apparently responsible for the extremist group’s “so-called military wing,” NTV reported.
He arrived in İstanbul with a fake passport and identity card, the channel said, while the DHA news agency said he was detained on April 28.
Turkey has stepped up the fight against ISIL extremists who have carried out deadly attacks in the country, including the mass shooting at an elite İstanbul nightclub in 2017.
That attack killed 39 people, including 27 foreigners.
Since then, there have been regular police raids to detain suspects across the country.