A suspected al-Qaeda operative has appeared before a court in Istanbul.
Louia Sakra is a 32-year-old Syrian who was arrested at the weekend in southeastern Turkey for possessing false identity papers. He is the second Syrian al-Qaeda suspect to have been imprisoned in Istanbul this week. Sakra says he planned to blow up Israeli ships but did not want Turkish civilians to suffer. Shouting ‘God is Great’, he told journalists before his hearing that he had no regrets. Sakra is thought to have played a key role in the Istanbul bombings of November 2003. More than 60 people were killed and hundreds were injured when terrorists struck two synagogues, the British consulate and the London-based HSBC bank. This week, Israel warned of an imminent attack and urged its tourists not to visit Turkish beach resorts on the Mediterranean.