Erdogan says Turkey captures senior ISIS executive
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a top Islamic State (ISIS) figure was captured in Istanbul.
Bashar Hattab Ghazal Al Sumaidai, cod-named Abu Zeyd was arrested in a joint operation conducted by Turkey’s General Directorate of Security and National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Erdogan told reporters on a flight back from his Balkans visit on Thursday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Abu Zeyd was suspected to be a senior executive of the terrorist group, Erdogan said.
In 2013, Turkey designated ISIS as a terrorist organization, however its commitment to fight against the group has since been a matter of discussion. The country remains a key logistical hub for the ISIS for its finances, according to a US Treasury report published in January last year. In February, Birgun newspaper said three Turkish construction companies in southern Mersin province supplied the ISIS with military equipment worth millions of dollars, citing a report by MASAK, Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board.
International documents, including a UN Security report, contained information that Abu Zeyd was one of the senior executives of the ISIS, Erdogan said.
During his interrogation, he also said that he was the so-called ministry of education and the ministry of justice within the organization, Erdogan added.
“The connections of this terrorist in Syria and Istanbul had been followed for a long time, and an intelligence was obtained that he would enter Turkey illegally. Istanbul security units determined that the terrorist used a fake identity card and disguised,” Turkish president said.