Turkey says it has deported 3,300 suspected jihadi fighters

AP News
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Posted: Apr 25, 2016 8:27 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has deported more than 3,300 foreigners suspected of links to jihadi groups, particularly Islamic State militants, and another 41,000 foreigners have been barred from entering the country as part of its fight against the militant group, a top official said Monday.

Turkish profiling teams have also interviewed 9,500 people upon their arrival in Turkey, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters. Some 2,000 of them were denied entry as a result.

Around 2,770 suspects, including 1,232 foreigners, have been caught in police sweeps and 954 of them are being prosecuted, Kalin said.

He didn't give further details. Turkish officials have refused to provide a breakdown of the jihadi suspects by nationality or give details on the countries they have been deported back to.

Separately, Turkey's state-news agency, citing unnamed military sources, said close to 900 alleged IS militants have been killed since January in Turkish artillery and air strikes against the group in Syria. The agency said 492 of the militants were killed in air raids while another 370 were killed by artillery fire. The agency didn't specify how the figures were obtained and it wasn't possible to verify them independently.

Turkey, long accused of turning a blind eye to the extremists crossing into Syria, has now taken a larger role in the fight against IS, opening a key air base in southern Turkey to the U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremists and reinforcing its border to prevent infiltrations.

Four deadly bomb attacks in Turkey since July have been blamed on IS.

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This story has been corrected to show the number of foreigners caught in police sweeps is 1,232, not 232.