Turkey detains Belgian citizen over connection to Paris attacks

  • AFP, Istanbul
  • Updated: Nov 21, 2015 18:05 IST
A 26-year old Belgian citizen Ahmet Dahmani is escorted by a plain clothes police officer on November 20, 2015 in Antalya. Turkish police have arrested a Belgian man of Moroccan origin on suspicion he scouted out the target sites for Islamic State in attacks that killed 129 people in Paris a week ago. (AFP Photo)

Turkey has detained a Belgian citizen of Moroccan origin on suspicion of links to the Paris attacks, a media report said on Saturday.

Ahmet Dahmani, 26, is accused of conducting reconnaissance work to choose the sites for the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and were claimed by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, the Dogan news agency reported.

He was detained close to the southern resort city of Antalya along with two Syrian citizens who were to help him cross the border into Syria, the report added.

Anti-terror police had followed Dahmani after he arrived at Antalya’s airport and checked into a five-star hotel in the luxury resort of Manavgat to the east of the city on November 16.

They then detained him and the two Syrians, who the report said had been tasked by the IS leadership to supply him with a fake passport and take Dahmani to safety in jihadist-controlled Syria.

It was not immediately clear when they had been detained.

All three were taken to court and remanded in custody, the report added.

Antalya had only one week ago hosted -- under the heaviest security -- the annual Group of 20 summit of world leaders including US President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Turkey has long been accused by its Western allies of failing to do enough to halt the flow of jihadists across its border to IS controlled-territory in northern Syria.

However the authorities have been making conscious efforts in recent weeks to tighten Turkey’s borders, making almost daily arrests of extremists seeking to join IS.

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