Rabat - Turkish police have arrested eight Moroccans suspected of having links to the militant Islamic State group, Turkish authorities said this Wednesday.
Rabat – Turkish police have arrested eight Moroccans suspected of having links to the militant Islamic State group, Turkish authorities said this Wednesday.
Turkey’s official news agency Anadolu reported the suspects were detained at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, upon their arrival from Casablanca, Morocco.
Istanbul Police said the eight suspects were allegedly planning to sneak into Europe posing as refugees claiming one of them had a hand-drawn picture of a planned route from Turkey to Germany, via Greece, Serbia and Hungary.
The eight told police during the interrogations they were just tourists who had been planning to spend a few days in Istanbul and had booked rooms at a hotel. But authorities found no reservations under their names.
This follows a similar incident earlier this month when Turkish authorities denied entry to 40 Moroccan nationals trying to come into Istanbul with the apparent intention to join the Islamic State.
Multiple Turkish media reports claimed Turkish police sent the Moroccan nationals back home, after finding evidences that they were being guided by a Syrian national into Syria to join IS.
Meanwhile, the Moroccan General Directorate for National Security (GDNS) issued a statement on Monday, saying that these reports are “false.”
The statement said the 40 people were deported because they were illegal immigrants who tried to cross into Europe via Turkey, rather than jihadists willing to join the Islamic State.
According to official data released to AFP last week, in the first half of 2015 more than 700 foreign suspected jihadists were detained and deported from Turkey whereas for all of 2014 the figure was 520.