Two ISIL bomb attack plotters are Austrian citizens, police say
Çetin Aydın - ISTANBUL
Police say that two of the four suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants who planned an attack on an Istanbul mall on Turkey’s Republic Day on Oct. 29 are Austrian citizens of Turkish origin.
The militants were detained as part of widespread anti-ISIL operations across the country on Oct. 28.
Upon an investigation of two residences where fires had broken out - determined to be jihadist cells - on Oct. 28, two of the four plotters were identified as female and two of them are Austrian citizens, police said, citing information from pictures of the couple that were obtained.
The police then also found and raided two other cell homes in Istanbul, identified from evidence found at the first two residences.
The couple detained on Oct. 28 is identified to have been living in the Arnavutköy district on the European side of Istanbul for the past five years, police stated.
The news comes after Istanbul police foiled a major planned ISIL bomb attack and brought down two jihadist cells in the city one day prior to the Republic Day celebrations.
According to police, a car loaded with explosives and a bomb-laden motorcycle were found in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Istanbul’s Bayrampaşa district on Oct. 28.
Anti-terror police then launched an operation after two consecutive explosions took place in two buildings in Istanbul’s Esenyurt and Arnavutköy districts, followed by fire, late on Oct. 27.
“Objects used in bomb making, including chemical materials, metal marbles, nails, a screw, a remote control, electronic circuits, cables, batteries and many other similar materials, were found in two houses in the Arnavutköy and Esenyurt districts by anti-terror and bomb disposal units, who carried out examinations after fire caused by explosions were put out. No one was found in the apartments,” the police said in a written statement.
It added that anti-terror police and intelligence officers had launched coordinated efforts to apprehend others involved in the plot.
The authorities also determined that a car and a motorcycle belonging to the suspects linked to the four ISIL cell addresses were in the parking lot of a shopping mall.
At around 4 p.m. four suspected ISIL militants, of whom one is a woman, were detained. One of the suspects was hospitalized after being shot in the leg by police while trying to escape.
Police took security measures around the area and notified bomb disposal units in order for examinations to be carried out on the car and the motorcycle.
“Some 66 home-made explosives with remote control set ups, suicide vests, two firearms and many bullets were confiscated from the motorcycle and the car,” police said.