updated 12/14/2003 3:20:58 AM ET 2003-12-14T08:20:58

Turkish police have detained a Turkish man they believe helped prepare the bombs used in the Istanbul suicide attacks last month that left 61 people dead, authorities said Sunday.

The man, identified by police only as F.Y., was captured several days ago in southeastern Turkey near the Iranian and Iraqi borders with a forged passport as he tried to flee abroad, police said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Police said F.Y. rented the workshop in an industrial section of Istanbul where the bombs were prepared and was believed to have helped prepared the explosives and trucks used in the attacks. The attacks against two synagogues, the British Consulate and a London-based bank killed 61 people.

Authorities called him a "key suspect" in the bombings.

F.Y. was taken early Sunday to an industrial park in Istanbul to show police how the bombs were made and loaded onto the vehicles.

F.Y. appeared to be about 30 years old and wore a brown jacket and gray pants. He had a short beard and dark hair.

He was taken inside of an empty workshop and could be seen pointing to police. He was surrounded by about a dozen police.

He was brought to the site in an armored vehicle escorted by a convoy of police cars.

More than 30 people have been charged in connection with the Nov. 15 attacks on two Istanbul synagogues and similar attacks five days later on the British consulate and a London-based bank in Istanbul.

Most of those charged are believed to have played minor roles.

In the most important arrest so far, authorities charged a man, identified by the Turkish media as Yusuf Polat, with a crime amounting to treason.

Polat, caught trying to slip into Iran using a fake ID, allegedly gave the final go-ahead for the attack at Beth Israel. Turkish newspapers said Polat has confessed to belonging to a Turkish al-Qaida cell.

Several key suspects in the bombings are believed to have slipped abroad following the attacks.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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