Turkey says over 800 detained in anti-ISIL operations

Around 820 detained in nationwide operations, according to state media, in Turkey’s biggest roundup targeting the group.

FILE PHOTO - Turkish police stand guard outisde the Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul
The Turkish government holds ISIL responsible for several attacks in the country [Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters]

Turkish police have detained hundreds of suspected ISIL members in nationwide raids, according to state media, in the largest operations in the country to target the armed group.

About 820 suspects, most of them foreign nationals, were arrested in at least 29 provinces, including capital Ankara and southeastern provinces, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Operations took place on Sunday and Monday.

“This is the largest coordinated and simultaneous raids that Turkey has taken out on what it says are ‘suspected members of ISIL’ across the country,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaziantepsaid. 

READ MORE: Turkey, US-coalition jets ‘kill 47 ISIL fighters’

She added that the operation signalled Turkey’s clear intentions to give a “message that it is clamping down” on the armed group.

“Turkey has suffered multiple attacks either claimed by ISIL or inspired by it,” Dekker said.

The Turkish government holds ISIL, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and is also known as ISIS, responsible for several attacks in Turkey. 

Most recently, ISIL claimed responsibility for a New Year’s Eve attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul in which 39 people were killed.

Police arrested the suspected attacker, Abdulgadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, on January 16 and authorities say he has confessed to the massacre.

Turkish troops are also engaged in battles against ISIL fighters in the Syrian town of al-Bab, in the fiercest fighting yet of Ankara’s military’s campaign inside Syria that started in August.

At least 48 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the incursion so far, according to an AFP news agency tally.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies