Turkey detains 304 people with suspected links to Islamic State group in simultaneous raids

The operation, codenamed “Heroes-34,” was conducted jointly by the police intelligence and counter-terrorism squads

December 23, 2023 03:37 am | Updated 03:37 am IST - ANKARA, Turkey

In this file photo, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. File

In this file photo, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. File | Photo Credit: AP

Turkish security forces have rounded up 304 people suspected of links to the Islamic State extremist group in simultaneous raids across Turkey, the interior minister said Friday.

Ali Yerlikaya said the suspects were detained in 32 provinces but the majority of them were in Turkey’s three largest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

The operation, codenamed “Heroes-34,” was conducted jointly by the police intelligence and counter-terrorism squads, Yerlikaya said on the X social media platform.

There was no information on the suspects’ nationalities.

The militant group has carried out a string of deadly attacks in Turkey, including a shooting at an Istanbul night club on Jan. 1, 2017, which killed 39 people during New Year celebrations.

It was not clear if the latest operation was part of a security sweep leading up to the New Year festivities.

“There will be no respite for the terrorists for the sake of the peace, unity and solidarity of our beloved nation,” Yerlikaya said. “With our security force’s superior efforts, our fight will continue uninterrupted.”

His ministry posted a video on X showing images of the raids, including anti-terrorism police breaking down a door, handcuffing suspects and leading them into police vehicles.

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