Turkey A Syrian was charged Friday with masterminding suicide bombings that killed 58 people in Istanbul, and Turkish prosecutors claimed that Osama bin Laden personally ordered him to carry out terror attacks in this pro-Western country.
Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa, 32, was accused of serving as a point man between al-Qaida and homegrown militants behind the series of suicide bombings in 2003 in Istanbul, said the indictment. It said al-Saqa gave the Turkish militants about $170,000.
Al-Saqa had cosmetic surgery, according to a medical report, and operated by using an array of fake IDs and employing aliases even with his al-Qaida contacts, according to the indictment.
He was charged, according to the indictment, with "attempting to overthrow the constitutional (secular) regime."
The prosecutor's office demanded life in prison for al-Saqa and identified him as "a high-level al-Qaida official with a special mission."