Turkish police shot dead on Wednesday an ISIS militant who was preparing to stage an attack on a police station in southern Turkey, the interior ministry said.
The assailant, wearing a vest packed with explosives, was killed outside the police station in the Yenisehir district, which security sources said is located next to the regional headquarters of Turkey’s MIT national intelligence agency.
“One member of the Daesh terrorist organization, wearing a suicide bomb vest, was captured dead in front of the Mersin Yenisehir district’s … central police station,” the ministry said in a statement.
Police officers spotted the suspect behaving suspiciously some 50 meters (55 yards) from the police station at around 8:15 am (0515 GMT), the Mersin governor’s office said.
The man was shot after he ignored police calls to stop, continued walking toward the complex, and appeared to be reaching for a cable dangling from his shoulder, the office added in a statement.
Mustafa Ercan, the chief prosecutor for Mersin province said the suspect was wearing a suicide vest which was later defused by police.
Ercan said authorities suspect that the man was an ISIS militant but did not provide details on his identity.
ISIS militants have previously carried out gun and bomb attacks in Turkey. Many foreign fighters have also passed through Turkey in recent years on their way to join the jihadist group in its self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
Ankara has detained more than 5,000 ISIS suspects and deported some 3,290 foreign militants from 95 different countries in recent years, according to Turkish officials.
The Dogan news agency, however, identified the would-be attacker as a 20-year-old Syrian national who lived in an apartment block near the police station. It said bomb disposal experts defused the explosive device.
Police subsequently searched the home of the Syrian man and detained his father, Dogan said, adding that his family had moved to Mersin a year ago.