ISIS Plot to Target US Embassy in Ankara Thwarted

ISIS Plot to Target US Embassy in Ankara Thwarted

Tuesday, 6 March, 2018 - 11:00
Turkish police stand guard in Istanbul, Turkey. Reuters
Ankara - Saeed Abdelrazek
Turkey’s security forces have arrested four Iraqi nationals suspected of planning an attack on the US embassy in Ankara as the mission said it was closing its doors due to a “terrorist threat”.

Four Iraqis, who have been linked to ISIS, were arrested in the Black Sea province of Samsun, security sources said.

They added that the counter-terrorism unit, in coordination with the intelligence service, have carried out a security operation that resulted in the arrest of two Iraqi citizens, who were in a bus heading to Ankara.

The police found the location of the other Iraqis in Samsun State after questioning the first two suspects, sources stated.

“The US Embassy in Ankara will be closed to the public on March 6, 2018 due to a security threat,” the mission announced Monday afternoon.

It said it will be providing emergency services only and advised people to avoid the embassy area and stay away from large crowds, keeping heightened awareness of personal security around popular tourist areas.

In this context, Ankara’s public prosecution said in a statement that 12 suspects had been detained after issuing 20 arrest warrants as part of an operation against ISIS.

The apprehended suspects were foreigners trying to recruit ISIS fighters, and were in contact with those in "conflict zones".

In addition to media reports of the 20 suspected ISIS members rounded up, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced that 20 "terrorists" were "neutralized" in 1,079 counterterrorism operations conducted in the past week, from February 26 to March 5.

From those arrested, the ministry said that five were captured, eight surrendered and seven were killed.

Turkish authorities arrested 46 suspects with alleged ties to ISIS and 37 others on suspicion of belonging to various left-wing terrorist organizations, according to the ministry statement.

In addition, 578 kilograms of explosive ordnance, 17 hand grenades, 27 weapons, and some 55,000 pieces of ammunition were seized in nationwide counter-terrorist operations, the ministry added.

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