Ankara- Turkish police have detained 44 suspects in anti-terrorist operations, including the planners of two suicide bomb attacks in Istanbul last year, the city’s governor said on Thursday.
Twin bombs — one planted in a car and the other strapped to a suicide bomber — exploded in an attack outside the stadium of Besiktas soccer club in central Istanbul on Dec. 10, killing 44 people, including 37 policemen.
“One of the suspects detained in the operation had carried out reconaissance work before the December 2016 bombing, and had jumped and fled the car shortly before it was detonated,” Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin told reporters.
The other suspect detained has been identified as the organizer of a July 2016 attack against a police bus that killed 11 people, including civilians and police officers.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Meanwhile, security forces continued to carry out large-scale operations across Turkey to foil any plot to carry out terrorist attacks during celebrations marking last year’s failed coup attempt.
Turkish anti-terror police arrested around 400 people suspected of belonging to ISIS, including foreigners, mainly Iraqis, who were plotting terrorist attacks during the celebrations.
Germany warned its citizens in Turkey on Wednesday to stay away from crowds during commemorations of the anniversary of the coup attempt.
The warning was issued on the official website of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.
The updated travel and security warning stated that some events could be held during commemorations across Turkey. It also warned German citizens to stay away from crowds and political rallies.
The warning comes after the US Embassy issued a security message over the coup attempt commemorations across Turkey, advising US citizens to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence,” it stated.