ISTANBUL — Turkey’s official news agency said three men suspected of carrying out murders on behalf of the Islamic State terror group were arrested.
Anadolu Agency reported Saturday that police conducted simultaneous operations in the southeastern provinces of Sanliurfa and Gaziantep as well as eastern Malatya province. They said the three men are thought to have been part of a “Daesh execution team,” using an Arabic acronym for IS.
The counter-terror operations followed an investigation into a drive-by shooting of a Syrian national in Sanliurfa last month. The gun used in that attack was found on the suspects.
The suspects used chats in phone gaming applications to communicate with IS members, according to private Dogan news agency.
Anadolu said the men are thought to have been planning attacks on people working against IS.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, IS has established a presence in Turkey, using the country to ferry foreign fighters in Syria.
Turkey was long accused of turning a blind eye to or even abetting the rise of IS in Syria to battle the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, claims it vehemently denies.
However, Western states say Ankara begun to move strongly against the group and seal its borders to jihadist traffic after a series of attacks blamed on IS in 2016.