Security forces in the southern province of Adana have foiled a potential Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terror attack targeting Europe with the arrest of two suspected militants who were preparing a “sensational” attack, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
In a joint operation with the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), counter-terrorism police detained Lebanese-origin Danish citizen Mahamad Laban and Iraqi-origin Swedish citizen Mohammed Tofik Saleh at a hotel in the Seyhan district earlier this month.
Following a 10-day interrogation at police headquarters, the suspects claimed that they traveled to Syria from Europe to provide humanitarian aid, but it was later revealed that they joined the jihadist group in Syria in 2014.
An Adana court on Feb. 10 ordered the arrest of the suspects on charges of being members of a terror organization.
During their interrogation, police also confiscated digital materials belonging to the suspects, including several pictures showing military camouflage and Kalashnikov rifles believed to have been taken with ISIL militants in Syria.
The two suspects reportedly pleaded not guilty, claiming that the pictures were intended to be souvenirs of their time in Syria.
The suspects were reportedly planning to cross into Europe via Greece with fake identities and passports.
They were reportedly in senior roles in ISIL, with Laban providing cash flow to the group from Europe and Saleh providing ammunition and weapon supplies.
After a wider interrogation, it has also been revealed that the suspects received intensive arms and explosive training in Syria over the past three months.
The police interrogation also revealed that Saleh traveled to Turkey with his wife, Fatime, and two daughters in 2014. The family then crossed into Syria but Fatime returned to Sweden and filed a legal complaint with the authorities, saying her husband had traveled to Syria to join the jihadist group.
Meanwhile, an Istanbul court on Feb. 11 ordered the arrest of Abdulkadir Masharipov, an ISIL militant who killed 39 people and wounded 65 others in a shooting at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub on Jan. 1, following a 25-day police interrogation.
The 34-year-old Uzbek citizen was captured in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul, 16 days after the attack.
Source: /Hurriyet Daily News