Turkey cracked down ISIL plan to hit Hagia Sophia, says minister

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Turkey cracked down ISIL plans to hit Hagia Sophia mosque and to kidnap senior Turkish statesmen and politicians to Syria, said the country’s interior minister about the operations after the so-called Emir of Turkey was arrested.

“For the last one or one and a half month, ISIL is in preparations for an attack on Hagia Sophia, some other economical places and some associations in Istanbul,” said Süleyman Soylu.

According to the minister, the terrorist group was trying to form hit-teams of 10-12 people for these attacks.

“On Aug. 18, the security units captured ISIL suspect, Hüseyin Sağır with his Kalashnikov [assault rifle], who was reported plotting an attack. Then over him, we came at the so-called Emir of Turkey on Aug. 20,” told Soylu to daily Hürriyet.

As part of all these operations against the group, police occupied digital materials, in which all the plans were stored.

“In those materials, we saw the new structure of the group in the country, the instructions coming from Syria and Iraq. They even wrote how to use and bury the weapons in the city and the rural areas” noted the minister.

The interrogations of the ISIL suspects are still ongoing, according to the minister.

About the attack on Hagia Sophia, the minister points out a question mark.

“If ISIL is a radical group, then normally they should not be interested in Hagia Sophia. Maybe a shrine. But the allegations about the mosque shows the network behind ISIL and how we should read it. Which intelligence groups are trying to affect the group? We should determine this.”

He also underlined another ISIL plan. “They wanted to kidnap Turkish politicians and statesmen to Syria.”

In his exclusive interview, the minister added that he cannot give any details about this.

Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque from a museum on July 24 and was opened for worship after 86 years.

Hurriyet Daily News

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