ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish police detained Thursday more than 30 suspects allegedly linked to the al-Qaeda terror network, saying they were planning to stage attacks on NATO facilities as well as U.S. and Israeli missions in the country.
Anti-terrorism police detained the suspects in simultaneous raids in the cities of Van, Erzurum, Konya, Batman and Istanbul. The police did not say which facilities or missions were the planned targets. Authorities were not available for further comment late Thursday.
Turkey increased security around all U.S., Israeli, NATO and other diplomatic missions in the country following al-Qaeda linked suicide bombings in 2003 against the British consulate, a British bank and two Jewish synagogues in Istanbul. The attacks killed 58 people.
Still, an attack blamed on al-Qaeda-affiliated militants outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul last year left three assailants and three policemen dead.
Dozens of Islamic militants from Turkey have had military training in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, Turkish officials say.
Al-Qaeda's austere and violent interpretation of Islam receives little public backing in Turkey. There are several other radical Islamic groups active in the predominantly Muslim but officially secular country.