At least 20 people, including 15 foreign nationals, were arrested in Istanbul over their links to the Daesh terror group, police said on Sunday.
Turkish police’s anti-terror teams raided simultaneously at four addresses in Istanbul’s three districts after they were tipped off that the suspects were linked to the Daesh leaders in Syria and Iraq.
According to the police, the suspects were planning an attack during the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city.
In past week alone, at least 272 suspects with links to the group have been arrested in operations throughout Turkey.
Due to security threats, the police ramped up efforts to prevent possible attacks during New Year’s celebrations, whereas authorities banned mass celebrations in Istanbul and Ankara.
More than 300 people have lost their lives in Daesh-claimed attacks in Turkey, where the terror organization has targeted civilians in suicide bombings, and rocket and gun attacks.
Turkey has been targeted by many deadly Daesh attacks since 2015. Ankara has deported more than 5,000 Daesh suspects and 3,290 foreign terrorists from 95 countries in recent years and has dismantled several terrorist cells that provided logistical assistance in Syria and Iraq and for plotting attacks inside the country.
The country’s efforts against Daesh made it a primary target for the terrorist group, which has carried out numerous gun and bomb attacks targeting security forces and civilians. This includes the country’s deadliest terrorist attack, which killed 102 people and wounded 400 others in a twin suicide bombing at a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015. Next week, Turkey will mark the first anniversary of a Daesh raid on a popular nightclub in Istanbul where 39 people, including foreigners, were killed during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
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