ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish police have detained two suspected Islamic State militants who were believed to be planning suicide attacks during New Year celebrations in central Ankara, officials said Wednesday.
The two men were detained following a raid in a low-income neighborhood of Ankara, where police also seized suicide vests armed with bombs that were fortified with ball bearings and metal sticks, the state-run Anadolu Agency said, quoting unidentified officials from the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office.
A senior government official confirmed the report without providing further details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to reporters without authorization
The two Turkish nationals, identified by their initials M.C. and A.Y., were being questioned by anti-terrorism police, according to the officials from the prosecutor’s office.
The agency said the attackers were planning to detonate the suicide vests at two locations near bars and a shopping mall during the celebrations.
In October, two suicide bombers detonated explosive vests during a peace rally in Ankara, killing more than 100 people. The prosecutor’s office said those attacks were carried out by a local cell of the Islamic State group.
More than 30 people were also killed in a IS suicide attack in the town of Suruc, near Turkey’s border with Syria, in July.