Turkey Holds Man Over Synagogue Suicide Bombing (REUTERS) By Fatih Saribas ISTANBUL, TURKEY 11/29/03 06:38 PM ET)
Reuters News Service
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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police said Saturday they had arrested a
man who ordered and helped plan one of four suicide bombings that
killed dozens of people in Istanbul earlier this month.
The suspect was arrested with a false identification card while
trying to pass across Turkey´s border to Iran, Istanbul Deputy Police
Chief Halil Yilmaz said in comments on television.
The bombing of the Beth Israel synagogue and identical truck bomb
attacks by Islamist militants on British and Jewish targets killed 61
people and injured hundreds.
"He went to the Beth Israel synagogue area with the other attackers
on the day of the explosion and gave the order for the attack,"
Turkish police and prosecutors took the unidentified man, who has not
been formally charged, to the site of the ruined synagogue earlier
The bearded man, who looked in his mid- to late-20s, stood handcuffed
in a street outside the synagogue as he talked to police
investigators and court officials.
He was among six people handed to Istanbul´s State Security Court
Saturday. Three were later released, police said.
Suicide bombers, all identified as Turkish nationals, struck two
synagogues on November 15 and the offices of London-based bank HSBC
and the British consulate five days later.
Groups linked to Osama bin Laden´s al Qaeda network claimed
responsibility for the bombings, which the United States says place
European Union candidate and NATO member Turkey at the frontline of
the "war on terrorism."
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), suspected by Turkey´s
powerful military for its Islamist roots, has condemned the bombings
and vowed to track down the perpetrators.
Turkish authorities have named 29-year-old Turkish national Mesut
Cabuk as the bomber who blew himself up in the attack on Beth Israel.
Habib Aktas, also Turkish, drove a truck bomb into the HSBC building,
security officials said Friday.
The Istanbul courts have charged more than 20 people they say are
linked to the attacks.
Several of the suicide bombers came from the province of Bingol, an
impoverished region in Turkey´s mainly Kurdish southeast. Bingol is a
political stronghold of the AKP and was a hotbed of Islamist
fundamentalism in the 1990´s.
Police detained Cabuk´s wife in southeast Turkey and brought her to
Istanbul Saturday for questioning, the local CNN Turk television said.
The British government has warned of further attacks in Turkey and
advised its citizens not to travel to the mainly Muslim country,
which sits on the fringes of Europe and the Middle East, and Turkish
authorities have stepped up security.
(© Reuters 2003 11/29/03)
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