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Turkey Arrests Syrian ISIS Leader before Heading to Europe to Carry Out Attack | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian ISIS member Safwan Qahwati. AP

Ankara – Turkish authorities arrested a Syrian man who allegedly recruited militants from European countries to fight for ISIS, the state-run news agency reported Wednesday.

Anadolu Agency said the man, identified as Safwan Qahwati, was arrested Wednesday after a court order earlier, days after he and his wife were detained on a highway near the southern town of Saricam and interrogated by police.

Qahwati and his wife had been located in a joint operation by police and intelligence officials and taken under custody by officers who stopped a bus in which the pair were travelling.

No details were provided about Qahwati’s wife, but the agency said she is believed to have been detained, interrogated and then deported to an unknown location.

The agency described Qahwati as a senior ISIS member, who recruited militants and provided weapons and explosives training.

Qahwati is said to have illegally entered the province of Hatay, which borders Syria, with his wife on March 15.

Police discovered digital images of the suspect, including one in which he reportedly posed for a photo wearing a mask and holding a knife on a man’s throat.

In another incident, two bomb attacks occurred early on March 29 in the Aegean province of Izmir.

The first blast occurred in a vehicle parked in the Camlikule neighborhood of the Buca district at around 2:00 a.m.

Police and ambulances were dispatched to the scene and while they were inspecting the area a second explosion occurred 20 minutes later in a garbage container located 300 meters away from the vehicle.

An investigation was opened into the incident while police officers were searching the area for a possible planted bomb.

CNN Turk announced that one person was killed while another was injured in the attack.

Meanwhile, the second meeting of National Security Council of 2017, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, convened late Wednesday in the Presidential Complex in Ankara and lasted for about four hours.

In the statement released after the meeting, it reiterated that financial aid and military support provided to terror groups by Turkey’s allies harms bilateral relations.

The council stressed that Turkey will continue its war against terrorism and terrorist organizations that seek disrupting stability and security in the country.