A Turkish court has arrested an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) “judge” and a telephone including key information about the militant’s activities was found in his anus following a strip search, according to authorities.
Yasser Mohammed Salem Radown, a foreign national also known as Abu Jihad, was detained earlier this month when Turkish police raided a residence in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district in connection with the Jan. 1 ISIL attack on Istanbul’s posh Reina nightclub in which 39 people were killed and 65 were wounded.
Radown was a “judge” in the areas controlled by ISIL, according to Turkish prosecutors.
Police authorities said the telephone in question included information on his activities, in addition to pictures of guns.
A notebook, which included the names, addresses and telephone numbers of many names linked to the jihadist group, was also seized in the search, according to the prosecutor, who demanded Radown’s arrest. The suspect was later arrested.
The main suspect in the Reina killings, Abdulkadir Masharipov, was captured last week during a police operation in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district.
Police, however, have been searching for another suspect related to the attack. According to newly obtained information, the wanted suspect arrived in Istanbul from Raqqa on Dec. 26, 2016, and met Masharipov in the run-up to Reina assault.
Plans to conduct bomb attacks with mock-up planes
Meanwhile, a trial has begun into nine ISIL suspects who are accused of planning to stage bomb attacks in Turkey with silent mock-up planes that were capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms of explosives. The militants conducted reconnaissance works in order to determine locations to attack, according to an indictment.
The trial into the nine, who were detained in anti-ISIL operations for making plans to stage “sensational” attacks in Istanbul on behalf of the group, started with the prosecutor seeking up to 15 years in prison for “being members of an armed terrorist organization.”
The nine suspects, two of whom are Turkish and seven of whom are Russian citizens, appeared in court at the Anatolian 2nd Court of Serious Crimes. A Russian translator was also present at the hearing.
Fuat Güneş, the first suspect to give his defense, said he did not know the other suspects and denied that photos and videos related to ISIL were found on his phone.
“My brother Mustafa Güneş joined ISIL in Syria. I don’t accept the accusations,” he told the court.
The court ordered the continued arrest of all the suspects, but separated the case of Fuat Guneş due to him not having contact with the other suspects.
The other suspects, Bekham Alimkhanov, Zelimkhan Tsaysaev, Aza Bepcahoba, Zukra Borchashvili, Fatma Altıntaş, Hassan Orstho, Salman Dakaev and Kyuri Khatsaev, were caught in Istanbul’s Bakırköy, Beylikdüzü and Zeytinburnu districts.
According to the indictment, attacks were planned for June 2016 and before. The indictment said the suspects were caught in June and July 2016 and that the investigation was deepened after it was determined that ISIL suspects planned bomb attacks in Istanbul. It also said weapons were transferred from the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa to Istanbul.
A number of documents related to ISIL and objects used in making suicide vests were found in Tsaysaev’s house. Photos taken in clash zones and songs praising ISIL were found on other suspects’ phones.
Two silent planes were confiscated in Khatsaev and Orstho’s house, with the indictment accusing ISIL of planning to conduct bomb attacks with them.
The planes were capable of carrying explosives of between 17 and 50 kilograms.
ISIL sniper caught
Elsewhere, İsmail Mahlı, an ISIL sniper, was caught in the border province of Kilis on Jan. 24. The gendarmerie carried out an anti-ISIL operation in Kilis, apprehending someone who was wounded in the eye.
After the investigation was deepened, Mahlı confessed that he was trained in Raqqa and was among the snipers of ISIL.