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Monday, January 29, 2007


Istanbul, 29 Jan. (AKI) - Turkish police on Monday arrested some 50 people suspected of being linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network during morning raids in five cities - Istanbul, Konya, Izmir and Gebze. Investigators believe that two men picked up in Gebze were preparing to travel to Afghanistan and Chechnya to join jihadis there. A gun and documents were seized by police when they arrested three suspects in Izmir.

The bulk of the arrests took place in Konya were 25 men have been detained and in Istanbul where 16 men are now in custody.

Police said the raids are fruit of a year-and-a-half of intelligence gathering. They said more people may be detained.

Last week authorities announced the arrest of a lawyer - identified only with the initials M.T. - who they alleged is al-Qaeda's chief operator in Turkey. The man has been charged with heading a banned organisation, distributing propaganda for the organisataion via the Internet, producing and owning explosives and bombs. If convicted he faces up to 38 years in prison.
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