[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Turkey charges man over ship plot
Luai Sakra (centre) outside court
Luai Sakra (centre) claimed he had explosives ready for an attack
A Turkish court has brought charges against a Syrian suspected of planning to blow up Israeli cruise ships.

Luai Sakra was charged with membership of an illegal organisation, his defence lawyer told reporters in Istanbul.

As he was led into court, Mr Sakra shouted: "I have no regrets. I was going to attack Israeli ships."

The suspect is also believed to be linked to bomb attacks on Jewish and British targets in Istanbul in November 2003, which killed more than 60 people.

He was arrested in Diyarbakir, south-east Turkey.

Outside court, he added: "I wanted to attack Israeli ships without harming Turkish civilians. I had prepared a tonne of explosives."

Last week, four Israeli ships which had been due to dock in Turkey were diverted to Cyprus amid fears of a terrorist attack.

One of Mr Sakra's lawyers told reporters that his client denied being a member of an organisation and was acting alone.


The court ordered Mr Sakra, 32, to be detained on charges of membership of an illegal organisation.

"He said he was angry over the US occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem," the lawyer told the French news agency AFP.

A suspected associate of Mr Sakra, Syrian Hamed Obysi, 21, was detained in the southern Mediterranean province of Antalya.

He has also been charged with membership in a terrorist organisation.

A total of 71 men are being tried in connection with the 2003 suicide attacks on two synagogues, the British consulate and British-owned HSBC Bank in Istanbul.

In pictures: Turkey blasts
24 Jun 04 |  In Pictures
Culture clash in bomb-hit city
24 Nov 03 |  Europe
Country profile: Turkey
13 Jun 04 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific