Paris attacks: Turkish police arrest Belgian man suspected of scouting targets

People gather at a memorial in front of the Carillon cafe on rue Bichat and rue Alibert in Paris, one of the locations targetted during the attacks.
People gather at a memorial in front of the Carillon cafe on rue Bichat and rue Alibert in Paris, one of the locations targetted during the attacks.PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (REUTERS) - Turkish police have arrested a Belgian man of Moroccan origin on suspicion he scouted out the target sites for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacks that killed 129 people in Paris a week ago, a Turkish government official said on Saturday (Nov 21).

The official, confirming a report by the Dogan news agency, said two other men were also arrested, without giving details.

The Belgian, Ahmet Dahmani, was arrested at a luxury hotel in the southern coastal city of Antalya. Dogan said the 26-year-old had been staying in a five-star hotel in the popular tourist destination since Nov 16.

Dogan said the two other men, both Syrian citizens, were detained on a nearby highway on suspicion they had been sent by ISIS in Syria to ensure Dahmani's safe passage across the border and were planning to meet him.

Dogan, citing court sources, identified the two men as 29-year-old Ahmet Tahir and 23-year-old Muhammed Verdi.

Counter-terrorism police first became aware of Dahmani when he arrived on a flight to Antalya and tracked him to the hotel in the Manavgat district of the city, Dogan said.

Separately, Turkey deported a group of Moroccans detained at Istanbul's main airport this week over suspected links to ISIS.

The eight, who said they had arrived at Ataturk airport on Tuesday night (Nov 17) from Casablanca for a holiday, were detained by border police and questioned by profiling experts who flagged them as suspected militants, a government official said.