Turkish Interior Ministry: 820 Islamic State suspects detained

Armoured vehicles block streets during early morning raids on IS safe houses across the country
In its weekly briefing the Turkish Interior Ministry’s press office stated that 748 people were detained in yesterday’s country-wide operations against the Islamic State (IS) group. A further 72 people suspected of having ties with IS were arrested throughout the week bringing the total number to 820, the ministry said.

Yesterday police said they had detained 445 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group in raids across the country.

Concurrent early morning raids were carried out in 18 cities, in which 445 mostly foreign citizens were detained, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

Many of the suspects were taken into custody in cities bordering Syria – 150 in southeastern Sanliurfa and 47 in Gaziantep.

The operations came amid mounting reports that the Turkish military is struggling against the Islamic State in Northern Syria’s al-Bab town.

Turkey launched the cross-border Euphrates Shield operation in August to prevent Kurdish expansion and secure its border against jihadist groups. Ankara has been accused of instrumentalising certain Islamist groups against the Kurds and not doing enough to secure its border.

The country was hit with a string of IS attacks in 2016, mainly targeting tourist locations and foreign nationals. 39 people were killed on year’s eve when an IS militant attacked a nightclub in Istanbul.