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Police hold almost 300 in Turkish anti-terror raids

High-profile Daesh suspect detained in Istanbul amid nationwide crackdown

Police hold almost 300 in Turkish anti-terror raids


The number of detainees held across Turkey in a major nationwide anti-terror operation has reached 297, including at least 37 foreigners.

Police sources say that among dozens of detainees held in Istanbul on Friday is a Daesh suspect, Halis Bayancuk, known by the pseudonym ‘Abu Hanzala’, plus his wife.

Bayancuk has been suspected of heading up a Daesh-linked group in the city and was previously detained in 2014 in an operation against al-Qaeda.

Police seized documents and digital material at his home in Istanbul's Bagcilar district.

Elsewhere in Bagcilar, a woman – reportedly a member of the outlawed far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) – was killed during a shootout with police.

Over 100 people were arrested across 26 districts of Istanbul in an operation involving some 5,000 police. Many of those detained are thought to be linked to groups like Daesh, the PKK and its youth wing, plus the DHKP-C.

 Nationwide operation

Operations across Turkey have taken place in 16 cities including Izmir, Sanliurfa, Bursa, Antalya, Adana, Mersin, and the capital Ankara.

The police raid in Sanliurfa, a southeastern province of Turkey, saw 35 people linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group held.

The province has witnessed a major escalation in tensions following a suicide bombing on Monday plus the fatal shooting of two police officers two days later.

Sanliurfa also saw raids in Suruc – the location of Monday's Daesh-linked bombing in which 32 people died – plus Ceylanpinar, where the two officers were found shot dead at their shared home on Wednesday.

In capital Ankara, police held 11 people following raids on 12 different addresses early Friday morning. Police sources said five of them have links with the PKK while the rest were linked with Daesh.

Nine people in Bursa, a western province, and another nine people in Igdir, an eastern province, were held due over suspected links to the PKK.

In Antalya, a tourist resort in the south of the country, two people were held over purported PKK links.

In the eastern Mus province, 10 people were detained over purported links to the PKK’s youth wing. Police seized Molotov cocktails and empty cartridges in the operation.

 'Parallel' raids

Meanwhile, in a separate Izmir-centered operation against the so-called ‘parallel state’ organization, police detained 21 people accused of providing financial support to the group.

The Turkish government says the group is an illegal, subversive network linked to U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen. The Gulen movement rejects such accusations.

Raids were carried out in eight other provinces including Sivas, Gumushane, Canakkale, Kutahya, Denizli, Aydin, and Mugla. 

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