07:16 GMT25 February 2020
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    No link between arrested hackers and al-Qaeda - Turkish police-1

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    Two hackers from Ukraine and Israel, suspected by U.S. authorities of selling information about the United States to al-Qaeda, do not have any known links to the terrorist organization, Turkish police said Thursday.

    (Recasts headline, lead, adds paragraph 2-3, clarifies al-Qaeda link)

    ANKARA, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Two hackers from Ukraine and Israel, suspected by U.S. authorities of selling information about the United States to al-Qaeda, do not have any known links to the terrorist organization, Turkish police said Thursday.

    A local police spokesman told journalists that the Ukrainian national, Maxim Yastremsky, was an internationally notorious hacker being sought by a number of countries for his activities and would remain in custody pending his possible extradition to the U.S. within 60 days.

    He added that the Israeli hacker, Maxim Turchak, has been released for lack of evidence of any criminal wrongdoing.

    According to an earlier report in the Turkish newspaper Sabah, Yastremsky and Turchak were placed on the international wanted list by U.S. authorities following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for selling information about U.S. airports and the Pentagon to followers of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader.

    Turkish authorities identified them when they arrived in Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, from Ukraine, and immediately notified U.S. intelligence. Acting on a U.S. request, Turkish police detained the pair three days later in a Kemer discotheque.

    In addition to two false passports, authorities seized two personal computers containing the personal information of 5,000 U.S. and European credit card holders.

    An investigation revealed that the hackers worked in collusion with Turkish cyber-criminals, selling them personal credit card data obtained by breaking into computer databases.

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