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Turkish Police Kill Suspect

January 17, 2000

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Police shot and killed a suspected Islamic militant and detained two others in a shootout Monday in a residential Istanbul neighborhood.

Police had raided the home where the shootout occurred as part of an investigation into the kidnappings of seven businessmen. The kidnappings are attributed to an Islamic Kurdish group, Istanbul Police Chief Hasan Ozdemir said.

He said the three suspected militants armed with automatic weapons opened fire first, injuring one policeman in the hand. The militants stayed barricaded in the apartment for nearly five hours, exchanging fire with scores of policemen in flak jackets, before police stormed the hide-out, Ozdemir said.

Snipers were positioned on top of nearby buildings and police sealed off roads leading to the neighborhood. The two suspects who were detained were taken to an antiterrorism unit for questioning, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Last month, police decided to intensify their crackdown on the Kurdish group, which calls itself Hezbollah.

The group is believed to be responsible for hundreds of killings in the predominantly Kurdish southeast during the past few years. Like the far more powerful PKK Kurdish rebels, Hezbollah took up arms in 1984. But unlike the PKK, Hezbollah has not carried out any major attacks against Turkish targets.

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