The Islamic State militants have begun using a new route through Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia to transfer their suicide bombers from Syria to Europe, Turkish daily Milliyet reported on July 11, citing intelligence officials, Hurriyet says.
According to the daily, Turkish intelligence officials, who cooperated with foreign intelligence services, determined that ISIL recently tasked its militants from Azerbaijan and the Northern Caucasus to carry out attacks in Turkey and Azerbaijan. ISIL planned attacks in Turkey and Europe after suffering defeats in the hands of U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria, the report also said.
The jihadist group planned to continue targeting Turkey, due to the latter apprehending the former’s members and carrying out operations against it, according to the intelligence officials.
In addition, it was determined that IS formed a group of 20 to 25 militants in Syria and tried to send them to Turkey a short while ago after the IDs of a number of its militants were exposed in operations carried out in the country. The General Directorate of Security sent a warning notice to provincial security directorates in April regarding these developments, according to reports.
The General Directorate of Security reportedly sent another warning concerning ISIL attackers from Azerbaijan and the Caucasus in June, saying the militants were planning suicide attacks in Turkey and Azerbaijan. The aforementioned militants planned to attack police officers and their families in Azerbaijan, the report said.
Meanwhile, another warning which was sent to provincial security directorates after ISIL’s attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport on June 28, which left 45 people dead and scores wounded, reportedly informed the police on the jihadist group’s new targets in Turkey. The warning, which was sent on June 30, stressed that ISIL militants in Ankara and Istanbul were planning attacks on military and police buildings with bomb-laden cars.
IS wanted to assassinate Kurdish public officials, journalists and military and intelligence officials working in Ankara, Istanbul and the western province of İzmir, the warning also said.
Turkey has been on high alert, as the country has been rocked by a series of suicide and car bomb attacks which claimed many lives and wounded hundreds.