Sunday, February 8, 2009

Al-Qa'ida Planning Attacks in Turkey?

The EDM's Emrullah Uslu speculates that Israeli airline El-Al's decision to suspend flights to Antalya is due to fear of an impending terrorist attack by al-Qa'ida. Uslu cites foiled al-Qa'ida plans to target the American, British, and Israeli consulates in İstanbul, in relation to which 38 suspected al-Qa'ida agents were arrested in December, as well as a series of robberies that have occurred across Turkey in recent months. According to Uslu,
[t]he recent upsurge in jewelry store and post office robberies, however, is a new trend. Al-Qaeda spends thousands of dollars for each attack. The recent spate of robberies may indicate that the police have successfully isolated the individual al-Qaeda cells so that they cannot obtain cash from the central body or that the main organization has stopped financing local operations.

If al Qaeda cuts off funding for its local branches so that each group has to find its own means of financing for the attacks, then the recent series of robberies could be a possible sign of a major operation in the making. Although the TNP [Turkish National Police] works hard and prevents most of the attacks in the planning stage, the recent upsurge in anti-Israel sentiment in Turkey may result in al-Qaeda members obtaining more informational assistance about potential Israeli targets from the local population.
Authorities still suspect al-Qa'ida involvement in last July's attack on the U.S. Consulate in İstanbul, which left 3 police officers dead.

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