Ankara – Turkish counter-terrorism police busted on Tuesday a five-member cell linked with the terrorist ISIS organization during an operation in Istanbul.
Security sources said that the detention of the cell’s members was possible thanks to a collaboration between the security agency and the security general directorate of Istanbul, adding that members of the cell planned terrorist attacks in different locations in the megacity.
The sources said that the terrorists likely came from outside Istanbul. “In the apartment where the five terrorists resided in the region of Basaksehir, the anti-terrorism police found three guns, a silencer, various digital devices and documents related to ISIS,” the sources said.
The Turkish raid is one of the many preemptive operations conducted lately to foil terrorist plans before they are executed.
Since the beginning of this year, Turkey has carried out some 20,000 security crackdowns against terrorist organizations. The country’s security forces arrested more than thousands of terror suspects, with ISIS making up the majority of the detainees at 5,000 members.
The majority of the suspects, who were detained in raids carried out across the country, were foreign nationals. They also included dozens of ISIS members who were allegedly preparing to stage attacks in Turkey.
On New Year’s Eve, ISIS claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack when a gunman massacred at least 39 mostly foreign revelers at an Istanbul nightclub
A few days ago, the counter-terrorism police arrested three Iraqis on suspicion of affiliation to ISIS. One of the suspects was involved in the 2014 Speicher massacre in Iraq.
According to the latest security statistics, in the past five years, Turkish authorities deported more than 5,000 foreign members of terrorist organizations and prevented thousands from entering the country. Many planned on arriving in Turkey to join ISIS and then cross into the war zone of Syria.
Turkey’s interior ministry recently published a report listing the number of foreign nationals in ISIS ranks in the country with Tunisian nationals topping the list.