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Turkish police arrest 22 suspected IS members in Ankara

Police say the foreign suspects had entered Turkey illegally [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 April, 2019

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Turkish police in Ankara have arrested 17 Iraqis and five Syrians suspected of being members of the Islamic State group.

Turkey's state-run news agency says police in the capital have detained 22 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group.

Anadolu Agency said the suspects - 17 Iraqis and five Syrians - were detained in simultaneous raids on Monday as part of a security sweep ahead of Labour Day festivities.

The agency said the suspects had entered Turkey illegally and had reportedly acted on behalf of IS in Syria and Iraq. It did not elaborate.

Turkey was hit by a wave of attacks in 2015 and 2016 blamed on IS and Kurdish militants that killed around 300 people.

IS claimed responsibility for an attack at an Istanbul nightclub during New Year celebrations in the early hours of 2017. The attack killed 39 people, most of them foreigners.

In February, the main suspect accused of carrying out the New Year's attack denied all charges before a court in Istanbul.

The accused, Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, could face 40 life sentences if convicted, one for each of the victims and the massacre itself.

The next hearing in the case will be on May 16.

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