Two Turkish police officers killed during a police raid of a terrorist cell used by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, were victims of a suicide bomber, the Diyarbakır police department has said.
In a press briefing in its building on Oct. 27, the Diyarbakır police confirmed two police officers were killed and five security personnel were wounded in clashes which erupted after a suicide bomber blew himself up as members of the department’s counterterrorism unit broke into a terrorist cell as part of a vast operation against ISIL militants in Diyarbakır early Oct. 26, Doğan News Agency reported on Oct. 27.
Seven militants were killed and 15 others were captured in the operation, it added.
In police raids of two other cells in the city, two Kalashnikovs, eight pistols, hand grenade shells, explosives and other ammunition were seized, the department said.
A security official told Reuters Turkish security personnel had prevented a larger attack than the deadly Ankara blasts and captured many explosive devices used in bomb making.
“Senior leaders from the Islamic State’s [ISIL] Turkish unit were killed in the operation,” the official said, adding, “One suicide bomber with explosives wrapped around his body was also killed in the operation, before he found a chance to attack security personnel.”
The Diyarbakır police department’s statement came a day after Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the two police officers had been killed by a booby-trapped bomb during the raid.
“Unfortunately, as our police officers were breaking down the doors with a sledgehammer as a routine method [of entry], a booby trap planted around the cell was set off unexpectedly, and two of our police officers were martyred,” Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 26, hours after the deadly operation.
Turkey has stepped up anti-terror police operations against ISIL militants across the country after the Oct. 10 twin blasts in the Turkish capital sent shockwaves across the country, with at least 102 civilians dead and hundreds of others injured in the attack.
Security personnel have beefed up raids targeting ISIL militants in particular, as the perpetrators of the deadly blasts were reportedly from the terrorist organization.
In the southeastern province of Kilis, 17 ISIL-linked suspects were arrested in the Elbeyli district on Oct. 26 ahead of crossing into Syria to join the terrorist organization, the Kilis Governor’s Office said in a written statement.
The arrested suspects were all reported to be foreign nationals, Doğan News Agency reported.
In the Central Anatolian province of Konya, 30 ISIL militants, including a woman, were detained early Oct. 27 after around 200 officers from the Konya police department’s counterterrorism unit raided 33 homes both in downtown Konya and Konya’s Çumra district.
In a separate anti-terror operation in Istanbul, 21 ISIL militants, including seven children, were detained on Oct. 27 after Istanbul police department counterterrorism unit officers raided 27 homes in the districts of Sultanbeyli, Pendik and Ümraniye.
A police helicopter escorted the officers and provided aerial support for the operation in which the officers seized documents related to the terrorist organization, both in hard and soft copies.
In a separate operation in Istanbul on Oct. 26, five suspects were detained after the Istanbul police raided seven homes.
The five were reported to be still under interrogation at the police department in Istanbul’s Fatih district.
In the northwestern province of Kocaeli, around 20 ISIL-linked suspects were detained on Oct. 27 over conducting recruiting activities for the terror organization.
In a separate anti-terror operation in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, three ISIL-linked suspects, two of them of Russianorigin, were detained early Oct. 27 after Antalya police department counterterrorism unit officers raided two homes in Antalya’s Muratpaşa district.