Born: March 17, 1982;
Place of Birth: Reyhanli, Turkey;
Ilhami Bali (better known by his nom de guerre Abu Bakr or Ebu Bekir), was indicted on charges of masterminding the Islamic State attacks in 2015, met secretly with MIT agents in the Turkish capital of Ankara in 2016.
He was operating in an al-Qaeda cell before joining the al-Nusra Front in the initial years of the conflict in Syria.
Bali’s actions were directed by the MIT, which coordinated clandestine operations within the Islamic State terrorist group for political goals.
Bali stayed in the then-newly built five-star Ankara Sogutozu Anadolu Hotel for three days between May 27 and 29, 2016, courtesy of MIT despite multiple outstanding arrest warrants issued by Turkish courts.
He was protected by MIT agents the entire time and was not allowed to leave his room at the beginning of his stay. His handlers in the hotel were Serhan Albayrak, a contract agent who works on the Syria desk at MIT, and Ahmet Ozcelik, a translator who worked on the Iraq desk.
During his stay Bali had talks with Ilhan Kaya, the MIT station chief in Erbil (who currently leads the special operations desk), and other personnel from the Syria desk. He shaved his beard and wore jeans and a T-shirt to avoid attracting any attention, the note explains.
The investigators also identified his phones, although he changed them several times. According to the note, the following numbers were used by Bali: +90 533 438 10 40, +90 536 886 82 89, +90 545 340 84 82, +90 536 240 01 35, +90 543 223 56 73, +90 506 555 52 66, +90 536 687 78 89, +90 545 658 01 91, +90 537 547 19 14, +90 531 608 23 80;
Also, Bali had been communicating with foreign Islamic State terrorists by phone when they came to Turkey and wanted to cross into Syria to join the Islamic State.
MIT’s links to Bali were also intercepted when intelligence agents were communicating with him on WhatsApp about the kidnapping of Pvt. Sefer Tas from a border garrison on September 1, 2015 after Islamic State clashed with Turkish army guards in a smuggling dispute. A corporal was killed in the clash.
The negotiations took place between Bali and MIT agent Kaya and agent Mutlu Tuka, head of the Syria desk at MIT.
However, Tas and another captive Turkish soldier, Fethi Sahin, were burned alive in Syria on December 22, 2016 when it appeared that MIT could have helped free them using its accumulated capital and assets within the Islamic State.
A Turkish court had previously convicted him – in an investigation predating the 2011 Syrian crisis – on charges of membership in al-Qaeda and sentenced him to three years in prison.
Bali relocated to Syria in 2012. He later moved to Islamic State, which tasked him with serving as the Islamic State border chief (emir) responsible for the smuggling of jihadists and logistical supplies and the transfer to Turkey of wounded Islamic State militants along the Turkish-Syrian border.
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