Jailed ISIS leader confesses intent to assassinate opposition politicians: report

A senior Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL) operative has confessed his intention to assassinate the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and the CHP mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, in plus attacks targeting LGBTI+ people, Alevis and tourists in Turkey, Deutsche Welle’s Turkish service reported on Tuesday.

Suspected Turkish ISIL leader Kasım Güler, codenamed Abu Usame al Turki, was captured in Syria in an operation by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) on June 15, 2021 and arrested by a court on June 21.

Güler had visited Afghanistan and Pakistan between 2008 and 2010 before joining ISIL in 2014 and rising through the ranks to finance director for Russia, Europe and Turkey, according to local media.

Güler’s confession was included in a case brought by Ankara’s attorney general’s office for charges including “violation of the constitution”, “possession or exchange of dangerous substances without permission” and “violation of law no. 6136 on firearms, knives and other weapons,” DW said.

According to Güler, Nusret Yılmaz, who was involved in a suicide bombing in Ankara in 2015, planned to assassinate Kılıçdaroğlu during the “Justice March” launched by the CHP leader to protest the arrest of Kılıçdaroğlu. a party deputy in 2017.

However, the plan fell through after ISIL members preparing to carry out the attack were captured in Kayseri.

On October 10, 2015, two ISIL suicide bombers attacked a peaceful protest outside Ankara train station, killing 109 people and injuring 500 others.

Güler also said that the terrorist organization intended to assassinate İmamoğlu in 2020, but could not since the media covered the alleged preparations for İmamoğlu’s assassination, prompting Istanbul police to increase its security details.

DW further quoted Güler as saying that Yılmaz was ordered to carry out an attack on İncirlik airbase in the southern province of Adana, used by the US Air Force and other NATO forces, in 2017.

However, the plan fell through after five members of the organization were captured by Turkish police with explosives and firearms in the border province of Hatay shortly after entering Turkey illegally from Syria.

According to Güler, ISIL also planned to attack a cemevi, a place of worship for Alevis, in Ankara in 2017, but the operatives tasked with carrying out the attack were unable to do so.

Another failed ISIL plan was to attack balloons used for ballooning mainly by tourists in Cappadocia, Nevşehir province. The plan fell apart after two ISIL members preparing to attack were captured with guns, DW said.

Güler also said that at the end of 2018, an ISIL member codenamed “Utbe from Van” was sent to Izmir to carry out an attack against LGBTI+ people, but he had no could not do so because the terrorist organization had not provided him with explosives for nearly seven months. Güler then ordered him to return to his hometown of Konya, DW said.

It was ISIL that carried out the Ankara bombings in 2015, the Suruç bombings in 2014, the Antep bombing in 2016 and the nightclub shooting in Istanbul in 2017, Güler added.

Thirty-three people were killed and more than 100 others were injured when an ISIL suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Amara Cultural Center in Suruç on July 20, 2015.

A teenage suicide bomber targeting a Kurdish wedding party in Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, left 51 dead and 69 injured.

On January 1, 2017, an assailant forced his way into Istanbul’s Reina nightclub where hundreds of people were partying, claiming the lives of 39 people, mostly foreign nationals, and injuring 69 others. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, while the attacker Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, was arrested 15 days later.

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