In eastern Turkey, police have arrested two Palestinians and a Jordanian suspected of having ties with the al-Qaeda network and believed to be on their way to Israel to carry out a bomb attack, officials said on Tuesday, according to AP.
The suspects were detained Friday in the eastern province of Van, bordering Iran, after they ignored a police warning to stop at a checkpoint, said Feyzullah Arslan, a police spokesman in Ankara.
Arslan stated the three men entered Turkey illegally from Iran and told police they were planning to travel to Istanbul and from there on to Israel, where they had received orders to carry out a bomb attack in a crowded area. He added that no weapons or bomb parts were found in their belongings.
Arslan identified the men as Mustafa Hasan, Firas Suleyman and Ahmed Mahmuod, and said they were members of a group named Beyyiat el-Imam, which he said was linked to the al-Qaeda network. He added the three had fought for the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and received training in Taliban camps.
Arslan said a fourth man in the car, who was also arrested, was suspected of helping the suspects enter Turkey illegally, while six other people had been detained in Istanbul for assisting the suspects.
Police were inspecting documents in Arabic found in their car and believed to contain bomb-making instructions, Arslan said. According to him, the suspects will appear before a court later on Tuesday.
The detentions follow Turkish media reports last week claiming that two Tunisian-born Canadians suspected of links with the al-Qaeda network might be in Turkey. Newspapers identified the two men as Abderraouf Jdey and Abdelaziz Boussora.
Jdey is reportedly an alias for Al Rauf bin Al Habib Bin Yousef al-Jiddi, who was recently identified by US Attorney General John Ashcroft as one of five men whose video-recorded messages promising to commit suicide attacks were found amidst rubble in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a senior Israeli officer said on Tuesday that fighters linked to Al Qaeda have begun filtering into Lebanon, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Several dozen bin Laden fighters have found safe haven in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, including Ein el-Hilweh, the country's largest. An unspecified number of Bin Laden men escaping American military operations in Afghanistan are also seeking refuge in Syria, said the Israeli officer. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )