Turkey ISIS New Year’s Eve plot was foiled after police arrest two people on suspicion of planning a bombing attack. As many as 1,200 people suspected of having links to ISIS have been detained in Turkey this year, according to New York Times.
The New Year’s Eve arrests come as governments worldwide are on heightened alert for potential ISIS attacks around the holidays. The two were arrested Wednesday as they allegedly scouted potential attack locations in the Turkey capital of Ankara.
The pair had a vest with explosives and a backpack “ready for use” with iron marbles and sticks and other materials for use in bomb-making, police said. Investigators believe the pair intended to target two locations near Ankara’s Kizilay district, the country’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency reported, citing the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office.
Although the Turkey ISIS New Year’s Eve plot was foiled, an “investigation and interrogation about the event is ongoing,” investigators said. On October 10, two bombings outside Ankara’s main train station killed more than 100 people. No group claimed responsibility for that attack, though Turkish officials have blamed ISIS, the Islamist terror group that has captured vast swaths of neighboring Syria and Iraq.
Authorities across the globe have been on alert for possible ISIS-related terror attacks after November’s deadly bombings and shootings in Paris, with at least one other country making arrests to thwart alleged plans to attack during New Year’s celebrations.
On Tuesday, Belgian authorities said they arrested two people on suspicion of being involved in a plot to attack “emblematic sites” in Brussels during New Year’s observances.
In Bangladesh’s capital, the U.S. Embassy said Tuesday it was warning U.S. citizens that attacks against hotels and clubs are possible in Dhaka in the next few days, perhaps in connection with New Year’s Eve celebrations. Dhaka police increased security measures for New Year’s Eve, including a ban on outdoor parties after 8 p.m., the embassy said.
In November, the United States issued a worldwide travel alert amid concerns that terror groups and individuals plan more attacks after the Paris attacks. The State Department warned that groups like ISIS, al Qaeda and Boko Haram “continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.” It also warned of the possibility of people carrying out their own attacks.
The State Department said that terrorist attacks remain likely as ISIS members return to their home countries from Iraq and Syria. The Turkey ISIS New Year’s Eve plot arrests came a day after two people were arrested in Belgium on suspicion of planning holiday terror attacks there.