Turkish security officials escort a handcuffed man. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An al-Qaeda member was detained by security forces in Turkey after he confessed in court to his involvement in the four November 2003 truck bombings in Istanbul targeting the British Consulate, HSBC Bank and two synagogues.
Z.Ç. was detained by gendarmerie following an earlier conviction for membership in al-Qaeda, although the deputy imam from Cankiri’s Alic village now has also confessed to involvement in the 2003 bombings, the Turkish Dogan Haber News Agency reported, referring to the man by his initials.
On November 15 in 2003, two truck bombs targeted the Bet Israel and Shalom synagogues in Istanbul.
Five days later two more truck bombs detonated at the HSBC bank headquarters and the British consulate.
The explosions killed 57 civilians including Britain’s Consul General for Istanbul Roger Short. More than 700 people were injured in the blasts.
Z.C. was initially detained as a suspect in the bombings, but released by a court. According to Hurriyet, he then went to Afghanistan and joined al-Qaeda.
After being detained in Afghanistan, he was extradited back to Turkey, where he was being tried without arrest for “being a member of a terrorist organization,” according to Hurriyet.
Turkish officials previously have charged at least 74 people for their involvement in the bombings, many like Harun Ilhan, who described himself as “an al-Qaeda warrior.”