Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden
Photo: AFP

Turkey detains head of al-Qaeda branch

Ankara police arrests 40 suspected members of al-Qaeda, other Islamic militants. Among detainees is Halis Bayancuk, head of terror group in Turkey

Turkish police detained 40 suspected members of al-Qaeda and the Turkish Islamist militant group Hezbollah in raids in Istanbul on Tuesday, state media said.


The state-run TRT channel said that among the detainees was Halis Bayancuk, whom the channel identified as the head of al-Qaeda's branch in Turkey. The state-run Anatolian news agency said operations were under way in a number of Turkish provinces.


Turkish police often arrest suspected Islamist militants and describe them as having links to al-Qaeda, though details seldom emerge.


Al-Qaeda militants were behind bomb attacks in 2003 that killed some 60 people and wounded hundreds in Istanbul.


Hezbollah emerged in the late 1980s during fighting between Kurdish separatist guerrillas and Turkish troops. It killed scores of people, targeting mainly Kurdish separatist rebel sympathisers.


Turkish Hezbollah has no links to the Lebanese Shi'ite group. It was broken up and its leaders were arrested in 2000 after police unearthed the bodies of more than 60 people the group had tortured to death in raids across the country.


But after a series of delays to their trials, 18 Hezbollah members were released in January this year after the introduction of new regulations limiting the period accused could be imprisoned without convictions. It was not clear if any of those freed were among those detained on Tuesday.



פרסום ראשון: 04.12.11, 15:46
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