Court arrests 11 suspects in case of bomb-laden minibus found in Istanbul

Court arrests 11 suspects in case of bomb-laden minibus found in Istanbul

Court arrests 11 suspects in case of bomb-laden minibus found in Istanbul

A court in Istanbul on Dec. 28 ordered the arrest of a total of 11 suspects in the case of a bomb-laden minibus found in the Bahçelievler district of Istanbul on Dec. 13, the same day as the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also in Istanbul, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

Anti-terror units had conducted an investigation after a minibus filled with 60 kilograms of explosives to be used in a potential terror attack was found in the district, detaining 20 suspects.

The suspects were referred to court on Dec. 27 for arrest. Later, the court ordered the arrest of 11 suspects, including an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant only identified as Hamza D., while the other nine were released, with five among them on probation.

According to previous information obtained by daily Hürriyet, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) branch in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır noticed increased activity between the PKK militants it has been tracking.

Authorities then determined that a person in contact with one of the militants in Diyarbakır had bought a minibus in Istanbul, which had subsequently been monitored by intelligence units.

The MİT’s Diyarbakır branch had then determined the PKK was planning a suicide attack on the Dec. 13 OIC summit in Istanbul.

Police found that the explosives in the minibus were hidden in fire extinguisher tubes placed in cases used to carry fish.

Authorities determined the bombs had been a combined fabrication of RDX, PTN and HMX and were strengthened with nails and iron marbles in order to create a wider explosion.

Separately, Turkish security forces on Dec. 28 arrested 18 suspects in the southern province of Adana and detained 15 suspects in the Turkish capital Ankara in raids against the PKK, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

In the operation carried out in Ankara, law enforcement officials targeted the PKK’s “social media structure,” according to the agency.

Eighteen other suspects were arrested in Adana over similar allegations.

Two suspects have also been arrested in an anti-narcotics operation in Turkey’s eastern province of Van, police said on Dec. 28.

An operation was conducted in the Edremit district on a tip-off over the presence of the PKK’s drug trafficking network, the provincial police said in a statement.

A detection dog found more than 102 kilograms (224 pounds) of heroin in 200 packages hidden inside sacks, Anadolu Agency reported.

Separately, Turkish jets destroyed PKK weapon depots and hideouts, while neutralizing 11 militants in northeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the military said on Dec. 27.