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Presumed Hezbollah Victims Found

January 30, 2000

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Police found four more bodies Sunday in their grisly 2-week-old search for suspected victims of a radical Islamic group, Turkey’s Anatolia news agency reported.

The bodies discovered in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir brought to 46 the number of presumed Hezbollah victims found.

Authorities have launched a nationwide crackdown and arrested hundreds of suspected members of the Hezbollah, an armed group that wants to create an Islamic state in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.

Unlike the victims uncovered in previous searches, the bodies found Sunday in a two-story house and its adjacent poultry house were not buried, Anatolia said. Police suspect the victims were killed a week ago, it added.

Bodies have been discovered in Istanbul; the capital, Ankara; the southern city of Adana; and Konya, in central Anatolia.

Several of the victims showed signs of torture.

Since the crackdown, newspapers reports have claimed that the state helped train Hezbollah to fight Kurdish rebels, who have been battling the Turkish army for 15 years for autonomy in the southeast.

Turkish officials have denied the allegations.

Turkey’s Hezbollah is not related to the Lebanon-based group of the same name.

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