Turkish police and secret service agents have captured a Turkish man, suspected of planning the truck bombings that killed 62 people in Istanbul after meeting with Osama bin Laden, an intelligence official said Friday.
Adnan Ersoz, who said he received explosive training in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, was captured in Istanbul on Monday, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
Police confirmed Ersoz's capture in Istanbul.
"He is one of the top guys who met with bin Laden and received his blessing for the attacks," the intelligence official said.
Intelligence officials have already named Habip Aktas and Ibrahim Kus as two conspirators who met with bin Laden in 2002 and received his consent and approval to stage terrorist attacks in Turkey.
It was not clear if Ersoz participated that meeting or met separately with bin Laden, the official said.
Ersoz was expected to be charged with involvement in the bombings later Friday. The official said that Ersoz was believed to be a messenger between the al-Qaida and the Turkish militants.
Aktas and Kus are still at large.
The intelligence official identified another key but lower ranking suspect as Gokhan Bac. Bac was suspected of preparing the bomb together with another captured militant, Fevzi Yitiz. Bac is also at large.
Ersoz was captured in Istanbul only one week after Turkish forces arrested Yitiz after he sneaked into Turkey from Iran. Ersoz's name first learned by the police during the interrogation of another key suspect Yusuf Polat, captured earlier.
In his interrogation, Ersoz confirmed that their first target was a Turkish military base used by the United States in southern Turkey, but militants stymied by tight security bombed two synagogues on Nov. 15 and the British Consulate and a London-based bank in Istanbul only five days later.
According to daily Hurriyet on Friday, Ersoz said the militants have been preparing for the attacks for about two years and that the militants were often shown video films of the killings of Muslims in fighting in Chechnya and Afghanistan and were asked "Who will be suicide bomber?"