Couple held in Turkey over Daesh links had German passports


A couple sought by Interpol over alleged links with Daesh have been arrested in southeastern Turkey.

The man, identified as Ismail S., was a dual citizen and carried both Turkish and German passports, while his wife, identified as Sarah O., had German and Algerian passports.

They were detained by police in Sanliurfa province, near the Syrian border, on Thursday after illegally crossing into Turkey.
Sarah O. was deported to Germany with her three children, while her husband was remanded in custody.

The operation was part of Turkey’s long-running anti-terror campaign against Daesh in the country. More than 300 people have been killed in Turkey by Daesh attacks using suicide bombs as well as guns and rockets.

In early February, Turkey arrested 82 suspects in Istanbul under an anti-Daesh operation to halt a planned terrorist attack in the city. In mid-February, two senior Daesh figures were captured, including an Iraqi militant described as the group’s “number five” and the wife of a senior Daesh member, Ilhami Bali, who was at the top of a wanted list of Daesh members accused of planning attacks in the country.

The operations were conducted with intelligence cooperation between Turkish, US and Iraqi authorities.

Experts underline the widespread fear that Daesh extremists who have fled Iraq and Syria will strike in Turkey and Europe — a key reason for intensifying operations against suspected militants.\

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim recently said 56,300 potential foreign fighters affiliated with Daesh have been banned from traveling to Turkey, while about 10,000 Daesh members are under arrest in the country.

Kadir Ertac Celik, an adviser on security policies at Ankasam, a think tank in Ankara, told Arab News that Turkey’s increased counter-terrorism operations sought to eliminate the terror threat at its source.

Turkey’s military operations against Kurdish militias, as well as Daesh, in the northwestern Syrian province of Afrin, have also encouraged the terror group to retaliate, he said.

“It is quite striking that those who have been caught in Turkey over terror charges include some holding German citizenship,” Celik said.

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