ISTANBUL, Turkey - An alleged al-Qaida operative accused of serving as a key link between the group's leaders and suicide bombers hid his tracks so well that even fellow militants thought he was dead.
Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa, wanted by Turkey for 2003 bombings in Istanbul that killed 58 people, is said to have eluded intelligence services by using an array of fake IDs, employing aliases even with his al-Qaida contacts and finally faking his death in Fallujah, Iraq, in late 2004.
The Syrian radical didn't surface until last August, when an accidental explosion forced him to flee his safehouse in the Turkish resort of Antalya, police say. Officers reported finding bomb-making materials meant for an attack on an Israeli cruise ship as well as fake IDs and passports from several countries. Police eventually cornered al-Saqa in southeastern Turkey and he is awaiting trial on terrorism charges.
His story is an example of how al-Qaida militants operate in the shadows, changing identities, moving from country to country and covering their tracks to help the loosely organized terror network carry out attacks. Read here or go via Jihad Watch.
I always enjoy a good mystery story. For a great opinion & fact piece on Turkey, US and Kurdish intrigues see Blood Money at Rastî's blog .