Turkey detains top ISIL suspect wanted by US

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Lebanese soldiers arrest a protester who was burning tires to block a highway that leads to Beirut's international airport, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Scattered protests broke out in different parts of Lebanon Tuesday after the Lebanese pound hit a record low against the dollar on the black market, a sign of the country's multiple crises deepening with no prospects for a new Cabinet in the near future. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Turkish intelligence officers have detained an Egyptian-born terror suspect wanted by Washington who was a top explosives expert for ISIL, state media reported on May 24.

The suspect, identified as Mustafa Abdulwahab Mahmud and born in 1999, was detained with three others on the outskirts of Istanbul after fleeing Syria, the reports said.

The indictment said he joined ISIL in Syria, where he specialized in making suicide belts and various explosive devices.

He is also alleged to have given courses to ISIL members about explosives through the social media app Telegram.

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office is seeking 39 years in prison on charges of membership of a terror group and obtaining explosives for Mahmud and 15 years for his brother, Suleiman Assani, and two Syrian nationals, Noureddin Alkheder and Ahmad Assani.

He was detained on a tip from U.S. intelligence services, who have been tracking his movements, the media reports said, adding that he is believed to have been plotting attacks inside Turkey, including against U.S. interests.

Officials believe that he was going to be targeting security units during an unknown new year celebration in the coming future.

Earlier this month, Ankara arrested an ISIL member it identified as the right-hand man of former ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In 2013, Turkey became one of the first countries to declare ISIL a terror group.

Turkey has since been attacked by the terror group multiple times, with more than 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks and four armed assaults.

In response, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.

Hurriyet Daily News

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