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Turkey detains top ISIL suspect wanted by US

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Turkish intelligence officers have arrested an Egyptian-born terror suspect wanted by Washington who was a top explosives expert for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, Agence France-Presse reported, citing state media.

The suspect, identified as Mustafa Abdulwahab Mahmud and born in 1999, was detained with three others on the outskirts of İstanbul after fleeing Syria, the reports said.

The indictment said he joined the ISIL group in Syria, where he specialized in making suicide belts and various explosive devices.

The İstanbul prosecutor’s office is seeking 22.5 years in prison on charges of membership of a terror group.

He was detained on a tip from US intelligence services, who have been tracking his movements, the media reports said, adding that he is believed to have been plotting attacks inside Turkey, including against US interests.

Once accused of letting jihadists pass freely through its territory, Turkey has stepped up its fight against the ISIL group, whose attacks included İstanbul nightclub bombings in 2017 that killed 39.

Earlier this month, Ankara arrested an ISIL official it identified as the right-hand man of former ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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