Five al Qaeda suspects detained in Turkey

Police have detained five people, including three university students, suspected of providing financial and technical support to the al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, police and reports said.

Ankara: Police have detained five people,
including three university students, suspected of providing
financial and technical support to the al Qaeda network in
Afghanistan, police and reports said.

One of the suspects is also accused of preparing for a
possible bomb attack, according to a police official in the
Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

The five were detained on Wednesday during raids in five
Turkish cities, including Izmir, where anti-terrorism
officials are leading the investigation. They were being
questioned by court officials today before facing possible
charges.

The state-run Anatolia news agency, without citing
sources, identified one of the suspects by his initials AK and
said police discovered two litres of hydrogen peroxide and
other material used to make bombs while searching his home in
the central Turkish city of Kayseri. The report claimed the
suspect was in search of fertilisers used in the production of
bombs when he was arrested.

The 23-year-old mathematics student at Izmir`s Dozkuz
Eylul University was also developing computer programmes
designed to down or jam unmanned aircraft, the agency claimed.
Police also seized video CDs showing AK outdoors, trying out
homemade explosives, it said.

The agency said the other suspects included a 19-year-old
from Chechnya studying computer science at Istanbul University
as well as a 22-year-old civil engineering student in the city
of Antalya. The two others were a self-employed person and a
shoemaker or seller, according to Anatolia.

The police official in Izmir would not confirm that a
Chechnyan was among the detained. He spoke on condition of
anonymity in line with Turkish regulations that bar state
employees from speaking to reporters without prior
authorization.

Anatolia said the five were in contact via e-mail with a
person who had previously been jailed on al Qaeda related
charges in Turkey and was now believed to be at an al Qaeda
camp in Afghanistan. All five are suspected of raising and
sending money to al Qaeda camps, it said.

Homegrown Islamic militants tied to the al Qaeda carried
out suicide bombings in Istanbul, killing 58 people in 2003.

The targets were the British consulate, a British bank and two
synagogues. In 2008, an attack blamed on al Qaeda-affiliated
militants outside the US Consulate in Istanbul left three
assailants and three policemen dead.

Turkish authorities have said dozens of Islamic militants
have received training in Afghanistan although al Qaeda`s
austere and violent interpretation of Islam receives little
public backing in Turkey.

Several other radical Islamic groups are active in
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim but officially secular country.

PTI

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