A Belgian citizen of Moroccan origin suspected of playing a role in the Paris attacks has been arrested in the southern Turkish city of Antalya, two Turkish officials told Al Jazeera.
Ahmad Dahmani, 26, arrived in Turkey from Amsterdam on November 14 and was detained at a luxury hotel along with two others, a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.
We believe Dahmani was in contact with the terrorists who perpetrated the Paris attacks.
“The security forces stated that Dahmani is an Islamic State of Iraq and Levant militant who was preparing to illegally cross the Turkish-Syrian border. We believe that Dahmani was in contact with the terrorists who perpetrated the Paris attacks. The investigation continues,” he said.
“There is no record of the Belgian authorities having warned Turkey about Dahmani – which is why there was no entry ban.”
The suspect was being questioned at the prosecutor’s office on Saturday.
Further information could not be given because it could impede the capture of other potential suspects, a police official, who also confirmed the arrest, told Al Jazeera.
“There is a confidentiality order on the issue as the investigation is going on in collaboration with other European governments,” he said. “The Paris attacks happened and this incident is progressing in various directions… The authorities are collecting evidence.”
The development comes at a time of heightened security in Europe after the attacks in Paris on November 13 that killed 130 people.
Belgium increased its security alert in the capital Brussels to its highest level on Saturday, warning of a “serious and imminent” threat.
Turkey has stepped up efforts to identify and capture people with links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in recent months.
Over the past two years about 1,300 people were denied entry into Turkey, and more than 2,300 foreign nationals were deported.
Belgium has been a focal point for investigations and raids since the Paris attacks. The country has been criticised for its alleged security and intelligence breaches after it was revealed two of the suicide bombers had been living in the country.
Since then, three people have been detained in Brussels and face terrorism charges.