ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – Turkish police have detained 38 people in raids on suspected members of al Qaeda, state-run Anatolian news agency reported on Friday.
The raids were the latest in a series targeting suspected members of the Islamic militant group in recent years.
Islamist radicals have carried out bomb attacks in Turkey in the past, most notably in 2003 when al Qaeda militants killed more than 60 people in a series of bombings in Istanbul.
“Thirty-eight people were detained in an operation against a radical right-wing group carried out simultaneously in Istanbul, Izmir and Manisa,” the agency reported Istanbul police chief Celalettin Cerrah as telling a news conference.
Anatolian and other media said the operation was directed against suspected al Qaeda militants. Istanbul police declined to confirm the reports.
Cerrah said 23 of them were detained in Istanbul, suspected of involvement in 12 criminal acts.
Anatolian on Wednesday reported that 15 suspected al Qaeda members had been detained in Istanbul. It was not clear whether the suspects to which Cerrah referred on Friday were the same.
On Wednesday a Turkish prosecutor charged two suspected al Qaeda members over an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in July that killed three police officers.