UPDATE – Four Turkish soldiers martyred on Iraqi border

            REVISES DEATH TOLL, NUMBER OF INJURED</p>  <p>By Muhammed Ali Toruntay</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Four Turkish soldiers were martyred Friday during operations against terrorists in the Turkey-Iraq border area.</p>  <p>Six soldiers were also wounded during the operations, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a statement early Saturday.</p>  <p>The ministry had initially announced that two soldiers had been martyred but later said that two other soldiers had succumbed to their injuries at a hospital.</p>  <p>The statement said the terrorists came under heavy fire from Turkish air operations and fire support.</p>  <p>It did not specify the name of the terrorist organization, but the Turkish military frequently conducts operations against the PKK terrorist group in the area.</p>  <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

Over 20 PKK terror suspects arrested in Turkey

             By Cemal Asan and Huseyin Bagis</p>    <p>VAN, Turkey/ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkish security forces arrested at least 24 PKK terror suspects during two separate operations on Tuesday, according to local officials.</p>    <p>The governor’s office in the eastern Van province said sixteen people were arrested in the province for their suspected links to the terror group.</p>    <p>Meanwhile, anti-terror police arrested eight PKK suspects in simultaneous operations across Istanbul.</p>    <p>Some pistols, documents and digital materials were seized during police search.</p>    <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

Turkish police arrest 16 FETO suspects

            By Suleyman Elcin, Ismet Karakas, Cankut Tasdan</p>  <p>ANTALYA/ANKARA (AA) - Police arrested 16 suspects late Friday for alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and remanded 39 others in custody.</p>  <p>Police sources said they conducted simultaneous anti-terror operations across Turkey against members of FETO, the terror group behind the 2016 defeated coup, and arrested 16 suspects.</p>  <p>The suspects had arrest warrants for being members of an armed terrorist organization.</p>  <p>Police also seized “digital materials” during the operations.</p>  <p>In Ankara, 39 suspects were remanded in custody over an ongoing FETO probe.</p>  <p>Meanwhile, 85 FETO suspects were brought to Ankara Courthouse by order of the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. </p>  <p>On Feb. 25, the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants for 100 military personnel and a “covert imam”, or senior figure in FETO, and 85 suspects were arrested.</p>  <p>The arrest warrants had been issued for the suspects for allegedly having contact with &quot;covert imams&quot; by payphone, judicial sources told Anadolu Agency.</p>  <p>The court released 45 of the suspects under judicial control but sent 39 others to prison. Ankara prosecutors released one of the suspects.</p>  <p>Police are still looking for the fugitive suspects.</p>  <p>FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.</p>  <p>Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.</p>  <p>Writing by Dilara Hamit and Can Erozden

146 terrorists 'neutralized' in Burkina Faso

            By Alaattin Dogru</p>  <p>DAKAR, Senegal (AA) – Security forces in Burkina Faso have &quot;neutralized&quot; 146 terrorists in land and air operations in the country’s northwest.</p>  <p>In a statement, the military said Monday that armed forces conducted operations in the Boucle du Mouhoun region in response to an attack by terrorists Sunday that killed 14 civilians.</p>  <p>The General Staff announced that the operations will continue until the country’s lands and the lives of its citizens are secured.</p>  <p>Burkina Faso has been threatened by terrorist attacks since 2015.</p>  <p>On Dec. 27, a terrorist attack on security forces in Sourou State in northwestern Burkina Faso left 10 gendarmes dead.</p>  <p>Following the incident, a state of emergency was declared in seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions.

Turkey 'neutralizes' 68 terrorists in past week

By Muhammed Boztepe

ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish army "neutralized" 68 PKK terrorists in domestic and foreign counter-terror operations over the week.

Turkish Defense Ministry told Anadolu Agency on Friday that the army has 'neutralized' 68 PKK terrorists in operations held across Turkey and in northern Iraq from Nov. 9 to 15.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralize" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

In these anti-terror operations, Turkish security forces seized several infantry rifles, anti-tank systems, ammo and mines.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

177 FETO-linked suspects arrested across Turkey

By Safak Yel

IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – At least 177 suspects were arrested across Turkey by security forces on Friday for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.

In Turkey’s western Izmir province, 17 suspects were held for using ByLock, an encrypted smartphone messaging app used by FETO members in an operation carried out by anti-terror police teams.

At least 86 suspects were arrested separately in operations in the air force staff across 25 provinces focused in capital Ankara, according to a statement by the province’s chief prosecutor’s office.

In addition, security forces rounded up some 23 suspects in southern Mersin province, the provincial chief prosecutor’s office said.

Separately, 14 suspects were arrested by security forces in Istanbul for providing financial support to the terrorist organization.

Additionally, four suspects were held by security forces in central Eskisehir province on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

Also, security forces rounded up 28 suspects across four provinces in raids focused in southern Adana.

Three suspects were held additionally in western Kocaeli province in an ongoing investigation into FETO infiltration in the military.

Also, a former police officer was arrested in southern Osmaniye for being a member to a terrorist organization.

In addition, security forces held a suspect in northern Samsun province for using ByLock.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Nigeria: 2 top Boko Haram commanders killed

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigerian military on Sunday said two top Boko Haram commanders were killed in a military offensive in northeastern Borno state.

In a statement, the army said troops launched an offensive around Gumsuri and Gambori areas of the state, clearing and liberating some villages from the militants.

“Reports reaching Nigerian Army Headquarters confirmed that two high profile Boko Haram terrorist commanders named Abu Rajal and Tuja Sa’inna Banki were killed in the clearance operations,” the statement said.

“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, commended the gallant troops and urged them to carry out further incursions and clearance operations to ensure that the remnants of the insurgents were completely wiped out,” it added.

Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram insurgency since 2009 when the group turned violent following the death of its former leader Mohamed Yusuf in police custody.

No fewer than 20,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, while between 2-3 million have been displaced from their homes across the Lake Chad region.

Turkish surgeons restore sight to 420 Ethiopians

By Addis Getachew and Tufan Aktas

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – A Turkish charity has given new hope to some residents of Gelemso town in eastern Ethiopia by bringing in ophthalmic surgeons who have helped hundreds of them see again.

“All 420 cataract patients have now regained full sight,” Haci Dursun Tunc, a member of the Sadakatasi Association’s board of directors, told Anadolu Agency.

“The association has conducted operations on patients in different parts of Africa and Asia, where a great number of people suffer from cataracts due to a lack of hygiene and other infections,” Tunc said.

He said the cataract operations have been conducted in cooperation with Gelemso Hospital, where many people, especially farmer families, needed the service.

The Turkish team of surgeons under the association have been providing cataract surgery services for free in Ethiopia, Pakistan and Somali, Tunc said.

“We operated on 700 cataract patients in Ethiopia before the latest ones.

“Words cannot express my happiness to see people blinded due to preventable causes see the world again,” he added.

The town of Gelemso is located in the Western Hararghe Zone of Oromia regional state. Ahmed Mohammed, head of the Western Hararghe Zone Health Bureau, who visited Gelemso Hospital, said he was very grateful and wanted to carry out joint projects in the near future with the association.

The Sadakatasi Association was established in 2010 and strives to help the needy in poor countries.

According to the World Health Organization, cataracts cause a third of worldwide blindness, affecting approximately 12.6 million people. Cataracts additionally cause moderate to severe vision loss in 52.6 million people, 99% of whom live in developing countries.

In 2016, Turkish Airlines sponsored a team of Turkish surgeons to provide cataract surgery services to more than 1,000 Ethiopians in a weeklong program conducted at the Menelik II Hospital in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Over 350 irregular migrants held in Turkey

By Ramazan Ercan and Muhammed Kaygin

CANKIRI/IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – At least 351 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Wednesday.

In central Cankiri province, 36 migrants were held by police forces during a regular road patrol. Migrants — all Afghan nationals — were transferred from eastern Van province.

Separately, the coast guards conducted multiple operations in the Aegean Izmir province’s Cesme and Dikili districts to prevent irregular migration.

The operations saw the arrest of 315 irregular migrants since Sep 23. Among them were Syrian, Afghan, Palestinian and Yemeni nationals.

All the migrants were referred to provincial migration offices.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

Turkey: Over 20 kg of heroin seized

By Necat Hazar and Faruk Kara

ANKARA (AA) – More than 20 kilograms of heroin and 9,930 packs of smuggled cigarettes were seized during anti-narcotics and contraband operations across Turkey, a security source said Friday.

In an operation in the Gurpinar district of the eastern Van province, anti-narcotics teams seized a little over 20 kilograms of heroin in packs in a minivan, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media.

The driver and one other suspect were arrested over drug-related offenses.

Separately, security forces also seized a total of 9,930 packs of smuggled cigarettes during nationwide contraband operations.

In Van's Caldiran district, 7,820 packs of smuggled cigarettes were seized, the provincial gendarmerie command said.

Also in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Kiziltepe district, 1,010 packs of smuggled cigarettes were found, according to the provincial gendarmerie command.

In the central Sivas province’s Susehri district, security forces seized 1,100 packs of smuggled cigarettes in a bus.

Two female suspects were arrested for smuggling.