IS Claims Responsibility For Borno Attacks

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

The Islamic State says its fighters have killed no fewer than 20 Nigerian soldiers in some attacks in Borno State.

One of the attacks was carried out on Wednesday, July 12, in Borno State with the insurgents attacking troops of 158 Battalion Location in Kareto Village of Mobbar Local Government Area, Borno State.

Reuters News Agency reports on Friday that the outlawed group claimed responsibility for the attack in a message published on a website.

The group claims its affiliate, the Islamic State In West Africa (ISWA), which split from Boko Haram terrorist group in 2016, has carried out a number of attacks in the northeast over the last few months.

Efforts to get a reaction from the military proved abortive as the spokesperson of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa did not respond to phone calls nor reply text messages.

Meanwhile, the group also claimed to have attacked a military base in Kareto village which is some 130 kilometres from the Borno State capital Maiduguri.

The group claims an army commander was shot dead in the attack which the military is yet to confirm.

The attack has however left many soldiers dead with many others still missing. Locals confirmed that the whereabouts of the Commanding Officer of the battalion is still unknown.

IS Suicide Bombers Kill Six In Syria Attack


US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters stand near the village of Baghouz in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor as they are fighting Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on March 15, 2019.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

The Islamic State group launched three suicide attacks outside their last redoubt in eastern Syria Friday, killing six people among those fleeing the crumbling jihadist bastion.

They were the latest casualties in Syria’s devastating civil war, which entered its ninth year on Friday with 370,000 dead.

All that remains of a once-sprawling proto-state that the IS jihadists declared in 2014 is a battered riverside camp in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and warplanes of a US-led coalition backing them, have rained fire on the enclave since Sunday, blitzing thousands of IS members into surrender.

READ ALSO: 49 Killed In New Zealand Mosque Attack

The exodus of veiled women, dusty children, and wounded men had been peaceful in recent days.

But on Friday three suicide bombers blew themselves up on the way out, an SDF spokesman said.

“A suicide bomber hid among those fleeing and blew himself up, killing at least six of those who wanted to get out” of Baghouz, Jiaker Amed said.

Two others blew themselves up near SDF positions, causing only light wounds among the fighters, he said.

Before the attacks, SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali said “a large number” of IS members had surrendered to the US-backed forces.

Earlier in the day, Amed said its fighters were consolidating their positions as it expected more people to stumble out.

It was however unclear how many remained inside.

“There are a lot of suicide bombers but there are also families and children,” he said before the attacks.

Death toll tops 370,000

Since the months-old SDF offensive resumed on March 10, more than 4,000 suspected IS members and their relatives have surrendered, according to the SDF.

More than 61,000 people have streamed out of IS-held territory since December, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says, a tenth of them suspected jihadists.

The exodus has sparked a humanitarian crisis in Kurdish-held camps for the displaced, where women and children have arrived exhausted after weeks of siege.

These include the wives and children of alleged foreign jihadists, hundreds of whom are being held by the Kurdish forces.

France said Friday it had repatriated five orphaned children — aged five or under — from these camps.

“The decision was taken in view of the situation of these very young children, who are particularly vulnerable,” the foreign ministry said, and the government was in touch with their French relatives.

The International Rescue Committee says 120 people — mainly young children — have died on their way to the main Al-Hol camp or after arrival.

Eight years of war in Syria have left more than 370,000 people dead including 112,000 civilians, the Observatory said, raising its last toll of over 360,000 issued in September.

The monitoring group, which has a network of sources across Syria, said that more than 21,000 children and 13,000 women were among the dead.

The conflict flared after unprecedented anti-government protests in the southern city of Daraa on March 15, 2011.

Demonstrations spread across Syria and were brutally suppressed by the regime, triggering a multi-front armed conflict that has drawn in foreign powers and militant groups.

Over 125,000 Syrian government soldiers and pro-regime fighters figure in the latest death toll, the Observatory said.

‘Hypocrisy’

It said 67,000 of those killed were other fighters including rebels and Kurds.

A further 66,000 were jihadists, mainly from IS and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), dominated by Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria.

The devastating conflict has displaced or sent into exile millions of Syrians, and cost almost $400 billion in damages, according to the United Nations.

With the support of powerful allies Russia and Iran, President Bashar al-Assad has won his war for political survival but his country is fractured and cash-strapped.

Having reversed rebel gains with a massive Russian intervention, Assad now controls almost two-thirds of Syria’s territory.

But key areas remain beyond regime control, including a swathe of the oil-rich northeast held by the SDF.

Idlib in northwestern Syria, held by HTS, is protected by a ceasefire deal between Ankara and Moscow which has seen Turkish troops deployed to the area.

Syria’s conflict is estimated to have set its economy back three decades, destroying infrastructure and paralysing the production of electricity and oil.

International donors — led by the European Union — meeting on Thursday pledged nearly $7 billion in aid for 2019 for civilians caught up in the conflict.

Syria on Friday accused the European Union of “hypocrisy” in donating aid to help Syrians, while continuing to impose a raft of sanctions on the regime.

AFP

One Killed As Terrorists Attack Libya’s Foreign Ministry In Tripoli

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One person has been reported dead following gunfire and at least one explosion rocked Libya’s foreign ministry on Tuesday as attackers stormed the building in the capital Tripoli.

The assault was carried out by several “terrorist attackers”, according to the Libyan unity government’s official TV channel, which cited foreign and interior ministry sources.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building, witnesses said.

There was no immediate casualty toll or claim of responsibility.

READ ALSO: 43 Killed, Dozens Injured As Gunmen Attack Government Compound In Kabul

Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The Islamic State group took advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the coastal city of Sirte in 2015.

Forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) regained control of the city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly fighting.

Since then, some jihadists have returned to the desert in an attempt to regroup and reorganise.

In September, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Company in the heart of Tripoli which left two dead and 10 wounded.

Four months earlier, it claimed an attack on the electoral commission’s headquarters which left 14 dead.

France’s Le Pen Ordered To Undergo Psychiatric Tests Over IS Tweets

Marine Le Pen gestures as she delivers a speech at a meeting in Fréjus, southern France on September 16, 2018. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen voiced outrage Thursday after being ordered to undergo psychiatric tests for having posted pictures of atrocities committed by the Islamic State group on Twitter.

Le Pen shared the gruesome images in December 2015, a few weeks after IS jihadists killed 130 people in attacks in Paris, sparking widespread condemnation in France.

The 50-year-old leader of the National Rally (formerly National Front), who lost to Emmanuel Macron in last year’s presidential vote, was stripped of her parliamentary immunity over the pictures and charged with circulating messages that “incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity”.

On Thursday, she tweeted copies of a court order ordering her to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Dated September 11, it calls for the tests to be carried out “as soon as possible” to establish whether she “is capable of understanding remarks and answering questions”.

“It’s crazy,” fumed Le Pen, herself a trained lawyer. “This regime is really starting to be frightening,” she tweeted, suggesting that the case was part of a government plot to discredit her.

“I thought I had been through it all: well, no! For having condemned Daesh (IS) horrors in tweets, the ‘justice system’ is putting me through psychiatric tests! Just how far will they go?” she asked.

Le Pen had shared the images in response to a French journalist who drew a comparison between IS and her party.

One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by the Sunni extremists.

Another showed a man in an orange jumpsuit being run over by a tank, and a third showed a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.

“Daesh is this!” Le Pen wrote in a caption. Daesh is an Arabic acronym for IS.

She later deleted the picture of Foley after a request from his family, saying she had been unaware of his identity.

If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($87,000).

Le Pen has denounced the case against her, which falls under a law punishing violent images that can be viewed by a minor, as a violation of her freedom of expression.

Another National Rally lawmaker, lawyer Gilbert Collard, has also been charged for tweeting pictures of IS atrocities.

AFP

Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Libya Attack

 

 

Islamic State claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a checkpoint east of the Libyan capital Tripoli earlier this week, the group’s Amaq news agency said on Saturday.

Thursday’s attack took place between the towns of Zliten and Khoms on the coastal road leading from Tripoli to the port city of Misrata, an area in which members of the Islamist militant group are known to be operating, according to the Zliten mayor.

Amaq said “seven Libyan road security personnel were killed” in the attack by Islamic State fighters, while around 10 more were wounded. It provided no evidence.

A local official and a resident on Thursday said at least four people had been killed in the attack, among them security personnel.

Libya has seen occasional attacks by Islamist militants who have benefited from the turmoil that followed a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Islamic State has said it was behind a deadly attack by gunmen on the offices of the electoral commission in Tripoli in May and an attack on a court complex in Misrata last year.

Local forces drove the militant group from its former stronghold in Sirte, southeast of Misrata, in 2016, but Libyan and Western officials say militants have sought to regroup through mobile desert units and sleeper cells in northern towns.

The United Nations is leading efforts to prepare for national elections in Libya, which it hopes will reunify rival factions based in Tripoli and the east of the country.

Death Toll In Pakistan Suicide Blast Rises To 128

Pakistani men react in the back of a pick-up truck as the victim of the bomb blast is brought to a hospital in Quetta on July 13, 2018. BANARAS KHAN / AFP

 

A suicide bomber targeting a political rally in southwest Pakistan Friday killed 128 people, officials told AFP, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history.

The blast — which was claimed by the Islamic State group — ripped through the crowd in the town of Mastung near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta.

It was the latest in a string of attacks that have spurred fears of violence ahead of nationwide polls on July 25 and underscored the fragility of Pakistan’s dramatic gains in security.

“The death toll has risen to 128,” Balochistan home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP. A senior provincial government official also confirmed the figure, adding that 150 others were injured.

Emergency workers shuttled victims to nearby vehicles from the bombed-out compound as bystanders sobbed in the darkness due to the lack of electricity in the impoverished area.

Victims in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and nearby Quetta, where they were greeted by tense crowds of mourners, an AFP reporter said. The deceased could be seen covered in shrouds.

“Human remains and red bloody pieces of flesh were littered everywhere in the compound. Injured people were crying in pain and fear,” said local journalist Attah Ullah.

According to senior provincial official Saeed Jamali, the bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where a political meeting was taking place. Another senior official, Qaim Lashari, also confirmed it was a suicide blast.

The explosion killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), provincial home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP.

“Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta,” he added. Raisani was the younger brother of former provincial chief minister Mir Aslam Raisani.

The attack was the most lethal since Taliban militants assaulted a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014, killing over 150 people, mostly children, and one of the deadliest in Pakistan’s long struggle with militancy.

It came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated near a Pakistani politician’s convoy in Bannu on Friday, near the border with Afghanistan.

The politician — Akram Khan Durrani, a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) party — survived, police said. No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack.

On Tuesday, a bomb claimed by the Pakistani Taliban targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar.

Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among the 22 killed. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

Pakistani Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel gather, following the bomb blast.
Photo: BANARAS KHAN / AFP

‘Duty to protect’

The Islamic State group has a muted presence in Pakistan but has carried out brutal attacks there in the past, including the blast at a Sufi shrine in February last year which killed nearly 90 people.

Militants have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even schools in Pakistan.

But security across the country has dramatically improved since government and military operations cleared large swathes of territory near the Afghan border in recent years.

Analysts warn, however, that Pakistan has yet to tackle the root causes of extremism, and militants retain the ability to carry out attacks.

The military has warned of security threats in the run-up to the tense election on July 25 and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

Following the series of attacks this week, activists called for Pakistani authorities to remain vigilant to protect candidates during the final days of the campaign season.

“The Pakistani authorities have a duty to protect the rights of all Pakistanis during this election period — their physical security and their ability to express their political views freely, regardless of which party they belong to,” said Omar Waraich, deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International.

Last month, a US air strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in neighbouring Afghanistan in what the Pakistani army called a “positive development” that also sparked fears of reprisals.

AFP

[UPDATED] Suicide Blast Kills 85 At Pakistan Election Rally

Suicide Blast Kills 85 At Pakistan Election Rally
A victim of the bomb blast that left 85 dead is brought to a hospital in Quetta on July 13, 2018, following an attack at an election rally. Photo: BANARAS KHAN / AFP

 

A suicide bomber targeting a political rally in southwest Pakistan Friday killed 85 people, an official said, the deadliest in a string of attacks on campaign events that have raised security fears ahead of nationwide polls.

The blast — which was claimed by the Islamic State group — ripped through the crowd in the town of Mastung near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, and was the deadliest in Pakistan in more than a year.

It came hours after another bomb killed at least four people at a campaign rally in Bannu in the country’s northwest. A third bomb killed 22 people at another rally in Peshawar on Tuesday.

The attacks underscored the fragility of Pakistan’s dramatic gains in security after years of steady improvement and widespread optimism that things had turned a corner.

“The death toll has risen to 85,” Balochistan health minister Faiz Kakar told AFP, adding that were more than 100 wounded.

According to senior provincial official Saeed Jamali, the bomber detonated in the middle of a compound where a political meeting was taking place. Another senior official, Qaim Lashari, also confirmed it was a suicide blast.

Emergency workers shuttled victims to nearby vehicles from the bombed-out compound as bystanders sobbed in the darkness due to the lack of electricity in the impoverished area.

Victims in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and nearby Quetta, where they were greeted by tense crowds of mourners, an AFP reporter said. The deceased could be seen covered in shrouds.

Suicide Blast Kills 85 At Pakistan Election Rally
Pakistani men react in the back of a pick-up truck as the victim of the bomb blast is brought to a hospital in Quetta on July 13, 2018. BANARAS KHAN / AFP

 

The explosion killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for a provincial seat with the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), provincial home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai told AFP.

“Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta,” he added. Raisani was the younger brother of former provincial chief minister Mir Aslam Raisani.

The attack came hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated near a Pakistani politician’s convoy in Bannu on Friday, near border with Afghanistan.

The politician — Akram Khan Durrani, a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) party — survived, police said. No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack.

On Tuesday, a bomb claimed by the Pakistani Taliban targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar.

Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among the 22 killed. Thousands flocked to his funeral the next day.

‘Duty to protect’

Pakistani Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel gather following the bomb blast at the election rally. Photo: BANARAS KHAN / AFP

 

The Islamic State group has a muted presence in Pakistan but has carried out brutal attacks there in the past, including the blast at a Sufi shrine in February last year which killed nearly 90 people.

Militants have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even schools in Pakistan.

But security across the country has dramatically improved since government and military operations cleared large swathes of territory near the Afghan border in recent years.

Analysts warn, however, that Pakistan has yet to tackle the root causes of extremism, and militants retain the ability to carry out attacks.

The military has warned of security threats in the run-up to the tense election on July 25, and said it will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day.

Following the series of attacks this week, activists called for Pakistani authorities to remain vigilant to protect candidates during the final days of the campaign season.

“The Pakistani authorities have a duty to protect the rights of all Pakistanis during this election period — their physical security and their ability to express their political views freely, regardless of which party they belong to,” said Omar Waraich, deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International.

Last month, a US air strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in neighbouring Afghanistan in what the Pakistani army called a “positive development” that also sparked fears of reprisals.

AFP

Court Sentences French Woman To Life Imprisonment For IS Membership

 France, IS, Priest

An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced a French woman to life in jail for membership of the Islamic State group as her lawyers accused authorities in Paris of putting pressure on Baghdad to prevent the return of jihadists to France.

Melina Boughedir, a mother of four, was sentenced last February to seven months in prison for “illegal” entry into the country and was set to be deported back to France.

But another court ordered the re-trial of the 27-year-old French citizen under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law and on Sunday she was found guilty of belonging to IS.

“I am innocent,” Boughedir told the judge in French.

“My husband dumped me and then threatened to leave with the children” unless she followed him to Iraq, where he planned on joining IS, she said.

“I am opposed to the ideology of the Islamic group and condemn the actions of my husband,” she added.

Boughedir, who wore a black dress and a black headscarf, arrived in the courtroom carrying her youngest daughter in her arms. Her three other children are now back in France.

Her sentence is the latest doled out to foreigners who flocked to join IS in its self-declared caliphate after the jihadist group seized the northern third of Iraq and swathes of Syria in 2014.

On May 22, an Iraqi court sentenced Belgian jihadist Tarik Jadaoun, also known as Abu Hamza al-Beljiki, to death by hanging — although he pleaded not guilty to a range of terror charges.

Jadaoun had earned the moniker “the new Abaaoud”, after his compatriot Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the organisers of November 2015 attacks in Paris.

‘Unacceptable interference’

Even before she was sentenced, Boughedir’s case sparked anger from her defence team, who had accused French authorities of interfering in the case.

On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French news channel LCI that Boughedir was a “Daesh (IS) terrorist who fought against Iraq” and said she should be tried on Iraqi soil.

That prompted her French lawyers to send a letter of protest to Le Drian, seen by AFP, in which they denounced “pressure on the Iraqi judicial system” and “unacceptable interference”.

On Saturday, one of her lawyers, William Bourdon, told AFP that Boughedir’s family and her defence team want her to return to France and face a court there.

“There is an unprecedented antagonism between the French political establishment and justice,” said Bourdon, who had travelled to Baghdad with two other French lawyers to join forces with Boughedir’s Iraqi defence attorney.

Arrested in the summer of 2017 in Mosul, the former capital of IS’s proto-state, Boughedir was sentenced in February to seven months in prison for “illegal” entry into the country and was set to be deported back to France.

But upon re-examining her file, an Iraqi court found that Boughedir knew her husband was planning on joining IS in Iraq and that she “knowingly” followed him.

During Sunday’s hearing which lasted about one hour, the judge asked Boughedir to explain why and under what circumstances she entered Syria and then Iraq.

He then declared that “the proof that has been gathered is enough to condemn the criminal to life in jail”.

Boughedir’s husband is believed to have been killed during a vast operation by US-led coalition-backed Iraqi forces to seize Mosul, Iraq’s second city, back from jihadist control.

On Sunday she told the court that the man she had been married to for five years had disappeared one day, walking out and saying he was going out “to look for water”.

Since then, she said, she had received no information about his fate or his whereabouts.

Boughedir is the second French citizen sentenced to life in prison by an Iraqi court for belonging to IS, after Djamila Boutoutaou, 29, in April.

Boutoutaou also said she had been tricked by her husband.

Thousands of foreign fighters from across the world flocked to the black banner of the jihadists after the group seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Multiple offensives have since reduced their “caliphate” to a sliver of desert territory in the east of war-torn Syria.

Dozens of French citizens suspected of having joined IS ranks are believed to be in detention in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, including several minors.

AFP

Bodies Of 38 Workers Killed By IS Arrive India

Indian Flag

 

The bodies of 38 Indian construction workers kidnapped and murdered in Iraq by the Islamic State group returned home on Monday four years after their disappearance.

Grieving families — who were told for years by government officials that their loved ones were still alive — waited at an airport in the northwest state of Punjab to receive the coffins from Baghdad.

The victims were mostly from poor families in Punjab and were employed by a construction company in Mosul when they were abducted by extremists.

India’s foreign minister told parliament last month that 39 bodies were unearthed from a mass grave in Badush, a village northwest of Mosul.

DNA testing confirmed the identity of 38 of the corpses. One test was a partial match, with further examination needed, India’s junior foreign minister said Monday.

The Indians were kidnapped in June 2014 as the Islamic State group overran large swathes of territory in Iraq, including the major northern city of Mosul.

Indian officials for years insisted the abductees were alive until proven otherwise, drawing criticism from relatives who accused the government of keeping them in the dark.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj denied the government had given the families false hope. It is not known when the Indians were killed.

AFP

Court Sentences Turkish Women To Death For IS Membership

 

A Baghdad court on Monday sentenced six Turkish women to death and seven to life in prison for membership of the Islamic State jihadist group, a judicial source said.

The source told AFP that the women, all accompanied by small children in the court, had surrendered to Kurdish peshmerga fighters after having fled Tal Afar, one of the last IS bastions to fall to Iraqi security forces last year.

AFP

Islamic State Kills 27 Iraqi Militiamen Near Kirkuk

Islamic State militants ambushed a convoy of pro-government militia fighters near the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk late on Sunday, killing at least 27 of them, the government-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces said on Monday.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

A security official said Iraqi forces were pursuing the militants, who had disguised themselves in police uniforms to carry out the ambush.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi offered condolences to the families of the dead and ordered security forces to bring those responsible to justice, his office said in a statement.

Iraqi forces launched an operation this month to consolidate control of a mountainous area near Kirkuk that is intended to be used as a transit route for Iraqi oil trucks heading for Iran. Two armed groups are active in the area.

Iraq declared victory in December over Islamic State, which had seized control of nearly a third of the country in 2014. However, the group continues to carry out attacks and bombings in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.

 

Turkey Detains 48 IS Suspects ‘Planning Attacks’

Iraqi rapid intervention forces advance as they take part in an operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists east of Tuz Khurmatu on February 7, 2018. The army, rapid intervention forces and paramilitaries, in coordination with Kurdish fighters and with Iraqi and coalition air cover, launched the operation “to chase away IS remnants,” said Iraq’s Security Information Centre.
Mahmud SALEH / AFP

Anti-terror officers in Istanbul and Ankara detained 48 alleged members of the Islamic State extremist group (IS) suspected of planning attacks, state media reported Saturday.

Police detained 31 foreigners who were picked up in anti-terror raids in Istanbul, state-run news agency Anadolu said, without specifying their nationalities, adding that they were believed to have been preparing an attack.

Another 17 people were taken into custody in Ankara over alleged ties to IS who were also accused of plotting an attack, the agency reported later on Saturday without saying when the raids took place.

Turkey suffered a series of terror attacks in 2015 and 2016 as well as one in 2017 blamed on IS and Kurdish militants, killing hundreds.

The last attack claimed by IS was in January 2017 when a gunman killed 39 people at the elite Istanbul nightclub Reina during New Year’s celebrations.

Police have since carried out frequent raids against IS across the country including in the northern province of Samsun on Wednesday when six Iraqis were detained on suspicion of being members of IS.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul earlier Saturday said Turkey had either remanded in custody or convicted 1,354 IS suspects.

AFP