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Turkey Holds Man Over Synagogue Suicide Bombing (REUTERS) By Fatih Saribas ISTANBUL, TURKEY 11/29/03 06:38 PM ET)Source: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3910836 Reuters News Service Reuters News Service Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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," Yilmaz said.

Turkish police and prosecutors took the unidentified man, who has not been formally charged, to the site of the ruined synagogue earlier Saturday.

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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