Turkey has detained four suspected members of ISIS in the southeastern city of Gaziantep accused of planning a “sensational” attack, Turkish news agencies said Thursday.
Police seized 150 kilograms of explosives, detonation equipment and two Kalashnikovs, the reports said, with Turkey on high alert after the New Year attack at the Reina nightclub of Istanbul claimed by the terrorist organization.
The agencies said ISIS leaders in northern Syria had ordered members to carry out a “sensational” attack in Turkey.
As well as the explosives and Kalashnikovs, police seized equipment for making suicide bombs, devices for setting bombs off via mobile phone, a pistol and cartridges.
The reports said the stash had been buried under the earth in an open area and was found by sniffer dogs after the suspects were questioned.
A video showed sniffer dogs locating the cache and then the explosives and Kalashnikovs being uncovered.
There was no detail on the suspects’ nationalities.
The operation came just over a month after 39 people, mainly foreigners, were killed on New Year’s Eve when a gunman went on the rampage inside the plush Reina nightclub.
Police captured the attacker, Abdulgadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, on January 16 after more than two weeks on the run and observers believe he may provide crucial intelligence.
ISIS claimed the massacre, its first clear claim for a major attack in Turkey, although it was blamed for several bombings in 2016.
Some 750 people with alleged ISIS links were detained in a major police sweep in 29 Turkish provinces last week, in Turkey’s biggest ever crackdown against the organization.