‘Sleeper cells’: 3,000 in Turkey linked to ISIS, police report says

‘Sleeper cells’: 3,000 in Turkey linked to ISIS, police report says

About 3,000 people have been linked to Islamic State militants in Turkey, says a police report. The data has prompted a red alert over possible attacks, including in NATO and the West, by the so-called “sleeper cells” of the jihadist group. A Turkish police intelligence report has urged surveillance of about 3,000 people to observe their connections with the jihadists, sources told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

“There are around 500-700 Turkish citizens who have joined the ranks of [Islamic State],” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier this week. Those 3,000 “possible links” to jihadists are additional to the group of about 700 Turkish fighters who are already fighting alongside Islamic State. The criminal records of foreign fighters who joined the IS militants via Turkey were absent, said the report, adding that it had created problems with security sources.

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“A common concern about the foreign fighters is: What will happen when they return to their homeland? We have this concern too.” Ankara has so far banned entry to 7,250 people from abroad who were planning to join the Islamic State jihadists, and has deported 1,165 would-be extremists.



Anti-terror raids target European sleeper cells

Dozens of terror suspects were arrested in Belgium, France, and Germany early Friday, a day after Belgian authorities said that they halted a plot to attack police officers by mere hours.

Eric Van der Sypt, a Belgian federal magistrate, told a news conference Friday in Brussels that 13 people had been detained in Belgium in connection with the plot, with another two arrested in neighboring France. He added that a dozen searches had led to the discovery of four military-style weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles.

On Thursday, Belgian police had moved against a suspected terrorist hideout in the eastern town of Verviers. In the ensuing firefight, two terror suspects were killed, while a third was wounded and arrested.



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