Turkey detains top Islamic State commander in raid

File image of Turkish police officer
The suspect was detained in a raid in Turkey’s southern Adana province (file image)

Turkish police have arrested the top Islamic State (IS) commander in the country, the government says.

Mahmut Ozden had “important plans” in his possession and had received orders to carry out an attack, the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.

He was detained in Adana province, and Mr Soylu said an operation was continuing against other IS figures.

IS officially announced its presence in Turkey in 2019 and has conducted numerous attacks in the country.

“[The suspect] had been constantly receiving orders from both Iraq and Syria to carry out an attack in Turkey,” Mr Soylu said on Tuesday.

He announced the arrest on Twitter and congratulated the police.

Ozden had been planning to carry out attacks with groups of 10 to 12 IS terrorists, Mr Soylu said. He referred to the suspect as the group’s “emir” in Turkey.

Plans seized during the raid revealed he had been plotting to kidnap several politicians, according to the Daily Sabah newspaper.

Computers, documents, weapons and ammunition were also seized during the operation in the south-eastern province of Adana.

Three other suspected terrorists were detained in the counterterrorism operation, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Police in Turkey have carried out numerous raids against IS. In July, 27 people suspected of planning an attack in Istanbul were detained in the city.

Children held in Islamic State group camps ‘are a time bomb’

And last week, police said they had arrested a man with links to IS who was planning an attack in Istanbul.

Ammunition and a long-range weapon were recovered from the suspect’s hotel room, police said.

IS has said it was responsible for a number of attacks in Turkey, including a deadly shooting at an Istanbul nightclub in 2017 that left 39 people dead.

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