Turkey detains more suspected IS members: reports

Members of ISIS (file photo)

Members of ISIS (file photo)

Turkish authorities on Wednesday detained at least a dozen suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group amid rising concerns about security throughout Turkey in an escalating cycle of violence.

Police detained the militants in coordinated dawn raids in the capital Ankara, as well as Istanbul, Hatay province near the Syrian border and the central Anatolian province of Kirikkale, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

Police were hunting for another four militants, Anatolia said.

The authorities had announced on Tuesday the arrest of 23 foreign nationals, including women and children, seeking to cross into Syria to join IS militants via the southeastern border town of Kilis.

The suspects were from China, Indonesia, Russia and Ukraine, Anatolia said.

Turkey is currently pressing a two-pronged “anti-terror” offensive against Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq and the southeast following a wave of violence inside Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said “effective operations” have been carried out against IS jihadists, even though Turkey has so far concentrated its campaign mainly against the PKK.

Ankara, long criticised for failing to halt the flow of jihadists across its border with Syria, has also vowed to begin strikes in the coming days against IS jihadists in Syria alongside US forces who have now started arriving at Turkey’s southern Incirlik air base.

Turkish authorities said last week they had arrested more than 1,300 suspects since late last month in police raids nationwide targeting suspected members of the PKK as well as IS and the Marxist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C).

However the overwhelming majority of those arrested so far have been from the PKK.

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