Dozens de­tained in foiled Daesh bomb plot

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - National -

At least 156 sus­pects linked to the Daesh ter­ror­ist group were de­tained in na­tion­wide coun­tert­er­ror­ism oper­a­tions yes­ter­day, Turk­ish me­dia re­ports have claimed.

The oper­a­tions come two days af­ter sev­eral sus­pects plan­ning at­tacks in the coun­try’s most pop­u­lated city of Is­tan­bul were cap­tured.

Ear­lier Satur­day, just a day be­fore Tur­key’s na­tion­wide cel­e­bra­tions of Repub­lic Day, four Daesh sus­pects were cap­tured near a busy shop­ping mall in Is­tan­bul’s Bayra­m­paşa dis­trict.

The sus­pects, in­clud­ing a mar­ried cou­ple, had left a car bomb and an ex­plo­sive­laden mo­tor­cy­cle in the park­ing lot of the mall.

State-run Anadolu Agency (AA) iden­ti­fied the sus­pects as Müc­ahit Ş., Can Y., Sez­gen P. and Hat­ice Y.

Mean­while, other me­dia out­lets re­ported that the de­tainees were Aus­trian ci­ti­zens of Turk­ish ori­gin, a claim the au­thor­i­ties are yet to con­firm. The four sus­pects are wait­ing to be ques­tioned by the po­lice.

Po­lice also found that two houses set on fire in the Esenyurt and Ar­navutköy dis­tricts were oc­cu­pied by the sus­pects. They did so a day be­fore their planned bomb at­tacks, po­lice sources say.

In both houses, po­lice found chem­i­cals used in bomb mak­ing, shrap­nel and other de­vices and com­pounds. In­side the car bomb and mo­tor­cy­cle left at the shop­ping mall, po­lice found four sui­cide vests in ad­di­tion to the ex­plo­sives.

Tur­key has been tar­geted by a wave of deadly at­tacks since 2015 car­ried out by Daesh and the PKK. It has so far de­ported more than 5,000 Daesh sus­pects and 3,290 for­eign ter­ror­ists orig­i­nat­ing from 95 coun­tries while dis­man­tling ter­ror­ist cells and safe houses.

The coun­try also launched Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield last year to back Syr­ian op­po­si­tion groups to re­take key cities near the Turk­ish bor­der in Syria from Daesh.

In a span of two years Daesh be­came one of the most ac­tive ter­ror­ist groups in Tur­key. It has been blamed for a string of at­tacks in the coun­try, rang­ing from sui­cide bomb­ings to gun at­tacks.

In Jan­uary, a lone Daesh gun­man stormed a pop­u­lar night­club in Is­tan­bul and killed 39 peo­ple dur­ing the New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tions. The gun­man was ap­pre­hended a few weeks later.

Ear­lier this month, po­lice thwarted a sui­cide bomb­ing tar­get­ing a po­lice sta­tion in Mersin and a Syr­ian sus­pect linked to the group was shot dead as he ap­proached a po­lice sta­tion.

AA re­ported yes­ter­day that Is­tan­bul coun­tert­er­ror­ism po­lice de­tained 968 Daesh sus­pects in 136 oper­a­tions between Au­gust 2016 and Oct. 30, 2017. One sus­pect was killed in oper­a­tions.

Between Au­gust 2016 and 2017, 940 for­eign Daesh sus­pects were de­ported and the Is­tan­bul po­lice also thwarted a num­ber of Daesh at­tacks. In Novem­ber 2016, po­lice ap­pre­hended a Daesh sus­pect plan­ning to carry out at­tacks ei­ther on Par­lia­ment in Ankara or mosques at­tended by the Ja­fari com­mu­nity while an­other sus­pect was de­tained in Au­gust 2016 while pre­par­ing to at­tack a pub­lisher re­leas­ing books on Chris­tian­ity and a branch of the op­po­si­tion Vatan (Home­land) Party. Ear­lier in March, six sus­pects were ar­rested for re­port­edly car­ry­ing out re­con­nais­sance to as­sas­si­nate Ah­met Ünlü, a prom­i­nent Mus­lim cleric.

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