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    Turkish police detain 37 al Qaeda members in broad operation

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    21.04.2009 - 09:25 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - Turkish police have detained at least 37 people suspected of being members of al Qaeda in simultaneous raids in four provinces, news agencies reported. (UPDATED)

    The operation took place in five provinces in central and southern Turkey. Police also seized guns and computers from suspected al Qaeda cell houses, the state-run Anatolian Agency, AA, said.


    Most of the suspects -- 11 people -- were detained in the southern province of Gaziantep, where the security forces, backed by armored vehicles, raided several locations in two districts early in the morning, AA reported.


    The operations were launched in the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa as well as the central province of Konya and the southern city of Adana, news agencies reported.


    Four people were detained in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa and the southern province of Adana, and two others in the central city of Konya. They were to be brought to Gaziantep for questioning.


    Police raided the same district of Gaziantep where four al Qaeda members were killed in a similar operation in 2008, according to reports.


    Following police interrogations, the suspects are to appear before a court, which will decide whether there is enough evidence to bring formal charges against them.



    Earlier this month, seven people were arrested on charges of links to the extremist network following simultaneous operations in the western province of Eskisehir.


    Local media reported in March that Ankara had received U.S. intelligence that al Qaeda militants could be plotting attacks on foreign targets in Turkey.


    A Turkish cell of al Qaeda was held responsible for truck bombs against two synagogues, the British consulate and a British bank in Istanbul in 2003, which killed 63 people, including the British consul, and left hundreds injured.


    Seven men were jailed for life in 2007 over the bombings, among them a Syrian national who masterminded and financed the attacks.

    In January, a suspected al Qaeda militant was killed and three others captured in a shootout with police in Istanbul after the group attempted to rob a post office.


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