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Turkey detains 40 ISIS suspects amid reports Moscow terror suspect came from Istanbul

Turkey has recently rounded up 40 suspected Islamic State militants just as reports emerge that one of the suspected perpetrators of last week's Moscow concert attack had traveled to Russia from Turkey.

Turkish authorities detained 40 suspected Islamic State militants across eight provinces in coordinated raids in recent days, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced Sunday. The minister noted that Turkish security officials had carried out 1,316 anti-ISIS operations between June 1, 2023, and March 23 of this year. A total of 2,733 suspected militants were detained in the sweeps. Some 692 were arrested and 529 were freed under judicial control.

Sunday’s announcement came as Russian news outlets reported that one of the suspected perpetrators of the Crocus City Hall attack near Moscow had traveled to Russia from Turkey. Friday's attack, which left at least 133 people dead, was claimed by the Islamic State-Khorasan branch of the group, which is active in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Shamsidin Fariduni is one of four male citizens of the former Soviet Central Asian state of Tajikistan charged with opening fire on the crowds gathered in the lobby of the concert hall. He published photographs of himself in Turkey on Instagram Feb. 23, Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency reported. Most of the photographs were snapped in Istanbul’s Aksaray neighborhood, but one showed the alleged perpetrator at the Fatih mosque in Istanbul.

During his interrogation, Fariduni reportedly said he had traveled from Turkey to Russia on March 4 and that he had carried out the attack in exchange for money. While Russia has sought unconvincingly to pin the blame on Ukraine, US officials say ISIS-K carried out the attack in Moscow. Turkish and Russian authorities have yet to comment on the reports linking Fariduni to Turkey.

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