Turkey has detained 25 people it suspects of being Isis militants in the city of Istanbul. Three of the detainees appear to be high-ranking member of the terror group, reported the country's state-run news agency Anadolu, while 22 of the alleged jihadists are foreign nationals. They are being held after operations across Istanbul. Anadolu said the three ringleaders are responsible for planning and directing terror attacks.
In recent years, Turkey has detained more than 5,000 suspected members of Isis. Officials say it has also deported over 3,000 foreign militants from 95 different countries, according to Reuters. Turkey has been the main entry point to Isis-held territory in Iraq and Syria for jihadists attempting to enter the war-torn area after the caliphate was declared in 2014.
The news follows reports from Iraq that the army there has in its custody 1,400 wives and children of Isis fighters. Authorities there counted around 13 different nationalities, including a number of French and German nationals. It is the largest group of foreigners linked to Isis detained since the beginning of the Mosul offensive, said Iraqi officials.
One Isis fighter's wife claimed that her husband told her they would be taking a vacation in Turkey before he tricked her into traveling to Syria and then Iraq.
Many of the women detained in Iraq surrendered to the Kurdish Peshmerga alongside their husbands after Iraqi forces retook from Isis the city of Mosul, which was once a stronghold of the extremist group.
The Kurds then handed the women and the children to the Iraqi army, but kept custody of the fighters. Iraqi authorities are now awaiting guidance on how to deal with these women and children, some of who could be tried in the country, others deported to their places of origin.
Turkey's latest round-up of Isis suspects is the latest in a line of crackdowns. In February 2017, it captured around 800 suspected Isis militants in just two days. The government carried out simultaneous operations in 29 provinces, including Ankara and Istanbul.
Isis has hit Turkey with a number of terror attacks. It claimed responsibility for a mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve that killed 39 people. Isis says it has several sleeper cells in Turkey awaiting orders to attack.