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Turkey: Dozens of ISIS Suspects Detained Ahead of New Year

Turkey: Dozens of ISIS Suspects Detained Ahead of New Year

Friday, 29 December, 2017 - 13:15
Police special forces patrol outside the Reina nightclub which was attacked by a gunman, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Turkish authorities on Friday rounded up 75 people in Istanbul and Ankara suspected of links to ISIS, state media said, ahead of high security celebrations to mark the New Year.

In Istanbul, police detained 46 people -- 43 of them foreigners -- in 10 different areas of the city, the state run Anadolu news agency said.

Without giving any details, it said they are suspected of planning attacks over the New Year period.

In Ankara, 500 police officers took part in simultaneous raids to arrest 46 suspects, 29 of whom were ultimately detained.

Without giving numbers, Anadolu said most were foreigners. It said that some were suspected of carrying out reconnaissance for and planning New Year attacks.

One suspect sought to escape by jumping from the balcony but was detained, it said.

Turkish police have stepped up operations against suspected ISIS militants ahead of the New Year.

Anadolu said that even before the latest arrests, a total of 120 ISIS suspects had been detained in operations nationwide.

Istanbul's governor Vasip Shain said Thursday 37,000 police and 4,000 members of the gendarmerie and coastguard would be deployed on the night of December 31-January 1 in the city to ensure security.

The authorities have banned any New Year celebrations in Taksim Square in the heart of the European side of the city while a similar measure has been imposed for the lively district of Besiktas.

The district of Sisli -- home to Istanbul's most upmarket shopping and residential areas -- has also scrapped New Year celebrations on security grounds.

The New Year will mark the one-year anniversary of the gun attack on Istanbul's elite Reina nightclub that claimed 39 lives, mainly foreigners. The assailant escaped and ISIS claimed the attack.

A trial began earlier this month against dozens of suspects, including Abdulkadir Masharipov, the Uzbek citizen who confessed to acting on behalf of the terrorist group.

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