Turkish police foiled a planned Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on March 5, detaining suspects in the capital Ankara and the Black Sea province of Samsun.
The detentions came after the Ankara Governor’s Office stated late on March 4 that extra security measures had been taken in the city upon intelligence that “terrorist actions” could take place in areas where U.S. citizens are located.
“Upon intelligence coming to our units from U.S. sources that terrorist actions could be undertaken targeting the U.S. Embassy and where U.S. citizens are staying, security measures have been reviewed and extra measures have been taken,” the Governor’s Office said.
Embassy closed on March 5, 6
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced that it has suspended operations on March 5 and 6 due to an unspecified security threat.
A statement posted on the embassy’s website on March 4 urged U.S. citizens to avoid the embassy in Ankara and large crowds, as well as to “keep a low profile.”
The statement said the embassy will be closed “due to a security threat. The Embassy will announce its reopening, once it resumes services.” It did not give details about the threat.
On March 5, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said U.S. consulates in Turkey were “operating as normal.”
Four Iraqis detained in Samsun on charges of plotting attack
Meanwhile, four Iraqi nationals were detained in Samsun by the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and local anti-terror authorities in an operation against ISIL, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 5.
Several digital documents were seized in the operation, the agency reported.
The suspects detained on charges of plotting an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Ankara were taken to the police station for formal legal proceedings.
Police detain 12 in Ankara over ISIL links
In addition, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office said police have detained 12 suspected ISIL militants in Ankara and are searching for eight others.
A statement from the prosecutor’s office said the suspects were detained in a police operation on March 5. It added that all the suspects are foreigners but did not provide detail on their nationalities.
According to the statement, the detained suspects are accused of trying to recruit members for ISIL and were “in contact with people in conflict zones.”
In 2013, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. He killed himself and one Turkish security guard on duty. Turkish officials blamed the attack on domestic leftists.