Turkish police: Al-Qaeda planned to blow up Istanbul synagogue, US embassy
Turkish police announced on Thursday that they have arrested 12 people in connection with al-Qaeda plots to destroy a synagogue in Istanbul
and the United States embassy in Ankara.
The reports said the police had seized nearly 50 pounds of plastic
explosives with detonation systems attached, as well as six laptop
computers and other evidence. Twelve people were detained during the
operation — two Chechens, two Azeris and eight Turks.
The evidence was gathered during a raid on two terrorist cells, one in
Istanbul and one in Corlu, a district of Tekirdag on the Sea of Marmara.
Forensic analysis of the computers’ contents and other documents,
officials said, revealed preparations for bomb attacks on the embassy,
the private Rahmi M. Koc Museum and a synagogue in the Balat district of
Photographs, floor plans and other information were found concerning
those targets and the residences and offices of two well-known Turks.
After the police raid, the American Embassy issued a travel warning, but
it said at the time that the Turkish National Police had not provided
specific threat information about the targets.
The police in Tekirdag said they had been monitoring a man said to
belong to Al Qaeda who arrived in the city two years ago, after
receiving military training at the terrorist organization’s camps in
Afghanistan, according to CNN-Turk. That surveillance led to the
February raid, they said.
The American Embassy was the target of a suicide bomb attack
in February that killed a Turkish security guard and severely injured a
local resident. But that attack was attributed to an extreme left-wing
organization, not Islamic militants.
In November 2003, terrorists used car bombs to destroy two Istanbul synagogues
, murdering 30 people and injuring 146. The picture at the top is from the Neve Shalom synagogue, which was one of the two destroyed.
Labels: al-Qaeda, Islamic terrorism, Istanbul, Turkey