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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police said on Monday they had detained 43 people on suspicion of being foreign members of the Islamic State militant group in a series of operations across Istanbul.

Istanbul counter-terrorism police units captured the suspected militants on Friday in simultaneous raids on 15 homes, a police statement said.

It was believed that they were members of social media groups linked to Islamic State and that they had been in contact with people in conflict zones, it said.

The militant group has carried out numerous attacks across Turkey in recent years, including on a nightclub in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2017 in which 39 people were killed, and a bombing in the city's historic heart that killed 12 in 2016.

Turkey has stepped up security operations against the group's network inside the country in the last couple of years, detaining many suspected militants and eradicating several cells across the country.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Daren Butler and David Stamp)

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Reuters