Top Islamic State figure captured in Turkey, police say

A man sits cross-legged with a weapon next to him.
An image believed to be of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the late leader of Islamic State.
(Al-Furqan media)

A close aide of slain Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi has been captured in Istanbul, Turkish police said Sunday.

The Afghan national, identified only by the codename Basim, was detained in the Atasehir district on the city’s Asian side on Wednesday, according to an Istanbul police statement.

News reports of the joint operation with Turkey’s intelligence agency said the suspect had been involved in helping hide Baghdadi in Syria’s Idlib province after the fall of the group in 2019. Baghdadi was killed in a raid on his Syrian hideout by U.S. special forces in October 2019.


Following the arrest of his alleged aide, Turkish media published a photograph of a balding, bearded man in a light coat and an earlier image, purportedly of the same person, showing a long-haired, heavily bearded man in military fatigues wielding a curved sword.

The Demiroren news agency said Basim was suspected of organizing training for Islamic State while in Syria and Iraq, as well as serving on its decision-making council.

He arrived in Turkey with a false passport and identity card, the agency said.

Turkey regularly detains Islamic State suspects, many allegedly planning attacks in the country.