Turkish police on Wednesday detained two suspected Islamic State militants who were believed to be planning suicide attacks during New Year celebrations in central Ankara, officials said.
The two men were detained in a raid in the low-income Mamak neighbourhood of the capital, where police seized a suicide vest armed with a bomb, an explosive device that was fortified with ball bearings, and metal sticks placed inside a back-pack, as well as bomb-making equipment, according to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office.
The two Turkish nationals, identified by their initials M.C. and A.Y., were being questioned by anti-terrorism police.
The prosecutor’s office said the men had staked out possible locations in Ankara, where they could carry out the attacks.
The state-run Anadolu Agency, quoting unnamed police and judiciary officials, said the would-be-attackers were planning to detonate the bombs at two locations near bars and a shopping mall near Turkey’s central Kizilay district during New Year celebrations.
The private NTV news channel, quoting security sources, said the two had “frequently” moved in and out of Syria, and that security officials had been monitoring their movements for the past month.
In October, two suicide bombers detonated bombs outside Ankara’s main train station as people gathered for a peace rally. The attack killed more than 100 people and was Turkey’s deadliest. The prosecutor’s office said the attack was carried out by a local cell of the Islamic State group.