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The BBC's Chris Morris in Ankara
"The state has tolerated Hezbollah's activities for more than a decade"
 real 28k

Friday, 28 January, 2000, 22:49 GMT
More bodies found in Hezbollah probe

Police recover a body in Adana The murders are blamed on Hezbollah guerrillas

Turkish police have discovered the bodies of six more people believed murdered by Islamic extremists, bringing the number to 39.

The murders have been blamed on Hezbollah, an armed radical group that aims to set up an Islamic state in Turkey.

The bodies were dug out of the basement of a single-storey house in Istanbul, the country's largest city.

The house was thought to be an operational base for the guerrillas. Police continued to search the site, and warned more bodies could be found.

Shallow grave

Nearly 1,000 people have been taken into custody since the nation-wide police operation against Hezbollah began last week, and 39 tortured bodies - mostly the corpses of Kurds - have been recovered from coal sheds and shallow graves.

Tarsus search for bodies The tortured victims were buried in shallow graves
NTV television said police in Istanbul had arrested a man described as a leading Hezbollah guerrilla and member of the group's central committee.

And in the south-eastern province of Batman, where Hezbollah guerrillas first emerged, police found more than 100 guns in a series of raids.

Blind eye

The find came just hours after Muslim clerics across the country preached a special sermon condemning murder.

The centrally-approved sermon emphasised that taking the lives of others was the greatest sin a Muslim can commit.

Terror, violence and anarchy, it said, had nothing to do with Islam.

The killings have revived accusations that the state turned a blind eye to Hezbollah for years as a buffer against Abdullah Ocalan's Kurdish Marxist separatists.

Correspondents say the mix between Islam and politics is a sensitive subject in Turkey - and the reign of terror attributed to Hezbollah threatens to polarise opinion even further.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Ankara says some argued that the actions of Hezbollah laid the covert agenda of political Islam bare. But moderate Islamists were outraged at this, and said the sudden clampdown had sinister undertones.

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See also:
28 Jan 00 |  Europe
Turkey's Muslims pray for peace
23 Jan 00 |  Europe
Hezbollah murder toll rising
20 Jan 00 |  Europe
Bodies found in Hezbollah probe
17 Jan 00 |  Europe
Istanbul police in Islamist shoot-out
01 Apr 99 |  Middle East
Turkish police seize 400 Islamists

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