Turkey arrests scores ‘planning New Year’s Eve attacks’

Foreign nationals among at least 75 people detained for suspected ISIL links in raids conducted in Ankara and Istanbul.

Flowers are placed near the entrance of Reina nightclub by the Bosphorus, which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul
On last New Year's Eve, 39 people were killed in an attack in a nightclub in Istanbul [Reuters]

Turkish police have arrested at least 75 people for suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in the capital Ankara and Istanbul, according to state media.

Police conducted a series raids across Ankara early on Friday morning, detaining 29 people, a police source told the state’s Anadolu Agency.

Materials seized in the raids indicated some of the suspects had made preparations for an attack during the New Year’s celebrations, the source said, adding that the majority of the suspects were foreign nationals.

Separately, 46 suspects, 43 of them foreign nationals, were detained in Istanbul, Anadolu said, quoting sources.


The suspects held in Istanbul were also allegedly plotting an attack during the New Year’s Day celebrations.

A large number of organisational documents and digital tools were seized during the operations in both cities, Anadolu said.

Istanbul police arrested a total of 714 ISIL suspects during counterterrorism operations from September 1 to December 26, according to Turkish security officials.

Among the suspects were 670 foreign nationals.

On last New Year’s Eve, 39 people were killed and scores of others were wounded, including Turkish and foreign nationals, in an attack in a nightclub in Istanbul.

Hundreds of people have lost their lives in attacks claimed by or blamed on ISIL in Turkey in 2015 and 2016 that targeted civilians and security forces. The group’s activity in Turkey decreased in 2017.

Turkish authorities are set to step up the security across the country, particularly Istanbul, on New Year’s Eve with an increased number of police officers on duty and bans on public celebrations at key locations.

Source: Al Jazeera