A senior figure in the Islamic State group described as the slain leader’s “right-hand man” has been captured by police in Istanbul, local media reported Sunday.
Officers detained the Afghan man, whose codename is “Basim,” during a joint raid with Turkish intelligence agents in the Atasehir district on the city’s Asian side.
IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in 2019 in a US special forces raid carried out with the help of Kurdish fighters in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
Turkish media reported that the man captured had helped Baghdadi hide in Idlib.
The suspect was also apparently responsible for the extremist group’s “so-called military wing,” the broadcaster NTV reported.
He arrived in Istanbul with a fake passport and identity card, the channel said, while DHA news agency said he was detained on April 28.
Turkey has stepped up the fight against IS extremists who have carried out deadly attacks in the country, including the mass shooting at an elite Istanbul nightclub in 2017.
That attack killed 39 people, including 27 foreigners.
Since then, there have been regular police raids to detain suspects across the country.