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2003 Istanbul Bombing Suspect Stands Trial

A suspect in a bombing plot against Israeli ships in Turkey (search) earlier gave $50,000 to people accused of carrying out a series of bombings in Istanbul that killed 60 people in 2003, according to testimony from a suspect submitted by prosecutors to a court, the Anatolia news agency said.

Prosecutors in the trial of some 70 suspects in the 2003 bombings of two synagogues, the British Consulate and a London-based bank gave testimony from Burhan Kus, who was captured by U.S.-led forces during fighting in Iraq (search).

Under interrogation by Turkish security officers in his prison cell in Iraq, Kus reportedly said that Louai Sakka, a Syrian accused of planning to ram a boatload of explosives into a ship carrying Israeli tourists, gave the alleged Istanbul bombers $50,000 before the attacks and stood cheering with key suspects as they later watched news of the bombings on television, Anatolia said.

Kus, who has been indicted in Turkey on suspicion that he helped build the truck bombs for the 2003 attacks, reportedly fled to Syria beforehand. It was from there that he watched the key suspects Habib Akdas and Sakka cheer about the bombings, Anatolia reported.

Police have said they believe Sakka acted as a contact between Al Qaeda (search) and the extremists responsible for the 2003 bombings, and Kus' testimony further supports allegations of that link.

Turkey has asked Iraq to extradite Kus to face trial for the November 2003 blasts.