Dozens detained in foiled Daesh bomb plot
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.