Turkish 'bomber' admits al-Qaida link

A Turkish man accused of making four car bombs that killed more than 60 people said he was trained by al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

    The Istanbul bombings killed more than 60 people

    Newspapers reported on Monday that the man was arrested last week near the Iranian border.

    His

    arrest marks a step forward for Turkish authorities who were

    originally caught flat-footed by the wave of lethal explosions.

    Police said the suspect used the cover of a detergent

    factory in Istanbul to make the explosives

    used in the four car bomb attacks on British and Jewish

    targets.

    "When I went to Afghanistan in 1994 I was trained in combat

    techniques and bombmaking at a camp under the control of al-

    Qaida," the Milliyet newspaper quoted the man as telling Turkish

    investigators.

    Bin Laden order 

    And the Hurriyet

    newspaper quoted him as saying:

    "The order for the attack came personally from Usama bin

    Laden through two men who went to Afghanistan."

    "When I went to Afghanistan in 1994 I was trained in combat

    techniques and bombmaking at a camp under the control of al-

    Qaida"

    Milliyet newspaper quoting a Istanbul bombings suspect

    The suicide blasts on 15 and 20 November hit the British

    consulate, the offices of the HSBC bank and two synagogues in

    Istanbul.

    T

    he majority of the dead were Muslim Turks, most of

    them passers-by.

    "I was criticised within the organisation because so many

    Muslims died," the suspect told authorities, according to the

    Sabah newspaper.

    The reports said the targets were not those originally

    chosen by al-Qaida, but had been changed during the planning

    process.

    Human rights abuses

    Turkish authorities have arrested about 30 people in their

    investigation into the bombings, but a number of suspected

    ringleaders remain at large.

    However, human rights groups have often accused Turkey of using newspapers as a conduit for false information.

    In a 2003 rights' report on Iraq, Amnesty International said many Turkish citizens faced imprisonment or harassment, simply for expressing Islamist views.

    The report added that torture in custody remained widespread and was practised systematically in many police stations.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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