Istanbul, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Turkish court today began trying a key Syrian al-Qaeda suspect on charges of masterminding suicide bombings that killed 58 people in Istanbul.
According to a report by the Associate Press Police took strict security measures outside the court house in Istanbul where Loa’i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa is standing trial along with 72 other suspected al-Qaeda militants blamed for a series of suicide bombings in Istanbul in 2003.
Turkish prosecutors claimed that Osama bin Laden personally ordered al-Saqa, 32, to carry out terror attacks in this predominantly Muslim but pro-Western country.
Al-Saqa is accused of serving as a point man between al-Qaeda and homegrown militants behind the November 2003 bombings, which destroyed a British bank, the British Consulate and two synagogues, an indictment said. It said al-Saqa gave the Turkish militants about $170,000.
Al-Saqa and his Syrian accomplice Hamid Obysi were captured in Turkey in August after an alleged failed plot to attack Israeli cruise ships. Obysi was also standing trial Monday.