ISTANBUL: Turkey has deported some of eight Moroccans detained and questioned on arrival at Istanbul’s main airport over suspected militant links, a Turkish government official said.
The eight, who said they had arrived at Ataturk Airport from Casablanca for a holiday, had been arrested on suspicion of having links to Islamic State, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday.
“The individuals were detained in accordance with the assessment of on-site profilers, who flagged the Moroccan nationals as terror suspects,” the government official said.
“While some of the detainees have been deported, others remain in custody pending their interrogation.”
The official did not say how many were still being held.
He said authorities were unable to authenticate a document allegedly outlining the group’s travel itinerary, which appeared in the Turkish media. Authorities were also unable to confirm whether the individuals were attempting to enter Europe by disguising themselves as refugees.
Turkish authorities have detained more than 1,000 people on suspicion of links to Islamist militants since the beginning of the year, in raids that have been stepped up since Ankara declared what it described as a “synchronised war on terror” in July. Around 300 have been formally charged.
Police also detained 41 Moroccan nationals at Ataturk Airport earlier this month after they were flagged by expert profilers at the airport. They were deported the same day, the official said.
The fight against the radical jihadists has taken on a new intensity since attacks claimed by the group killed 129 people in Paris on Friday.