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Turkey arrests 48 in nationwide Al Qaida crackdown

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

ANKARA Turkey has launched a massive crackdown on the Al Qaida network.

In an operation deemed unprecedented, Turkish authorities have located and arrested scores of members of the Al Qaida network. In raids throughout the country, police detained 48 suspected Al Qaida operatives.

On Monday, Turkish police, who raised the prospect of additional arrests, said the Al Qaida agents were detained in operations in Istanbul, Izmir, Kocaeli, Konya and Mardin. Police said most of the detainees were captured in Konya, Middle East Newsline reported.

The state-owned Anatolia news agency reported that the suspects were Al Qaida operatives. None of the operatives were identified.

Officials said this was the biggest crackdown against Al Qaida in Turkey. On Jan 26, a Turkish court sentenced seven Al Qaida suspects for plotting to kill U.S. President George Bush during the 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul.

In December 2006, Turkey identified an attorney as head of the Al Qaida network. More than 70 Turks have been on trial in connection with Al Qaida's bombing campaign in 2003 in Istanbul, in which 58 people were killed.

Officials said the counter-insurgency mission involved 600 police, security and special operations officers. They said the operation had taken up to 18 months to plan.


Copyright 2007 East West Services, Inc.

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