Gaziantep, Nov 5 () - New details have emerged regarding Oct. 26 raids on cell houses belonging to the Islamic State (IS) in Diyarbakır, with officials revealing that the jihadist group planned to attack political party and newspaper offices in the country.
The revelations come amid the arrest of nine suspects for their alleged ties to ISIL in Gaziantep, which is southeast Turkey like Diyarbakır.
Two police officers and seven IS militants were killed during a police raid on a cell house in Diyarbakır’s Kayapınar district on Oct. 26.
During a subsequent search, police seized the outlines of three political parties’ provincial and district buildings in Diyarbakır, while also confiscating the drawings of other addresses.
The ISIL members were thought to be preparing for attacks on the buildings.
Police said the members were staying at a cell house on 47th Street in Kayapınar, while they were planning attacks at a house on 53rd Street. Female IS members sometimes stood guard at the houses to avoid attracting any attention.
Nine IS suspects arrested
Meanwhile, nine IS suspects, two of whom had been detained after throwing a hand grenade at a police car, were arrested in Gaziantep on Nov. 4.
The Gaziantep Governor’s Office also said in a statement that the nine suspects were allegedly planning an attack on a political party’s Istanbul headquarters before the Nov. 1 elections.
Two of the arrestees had previously thrown a hand grenade at a police vehicle after stepping out of their car, which was following them on Oct. 30, two days before the Nov. 1 parliamentary elections.
Upon a tip that a bomb attack was going to take place, units from the Gaziantep anti-terror police branch closely monitored a vehicle with the two suspects inside. When the suspects realized they were being followed, they stopped the car, exited and threw a hand grenade at the police car, only for the explosive to fail to detonate. The suspects fled the scene on foot but were caught after a chase.
The address of daily Cumhuriyet’s Ankara bureau was found on one of the suspects. Two suicide bombing vests, explosives and a hand grenade were also found inside the vehicle.
Following the two suspects’ testimonies, police raided seven addresses in the province and detained seven suspects who were alleged to be linked to IS. In the raids, around nine grams of explosive material, four hand grenades, four guns, two shotguns, 135 crackers, three vehicles, around 10,000 Turkish Liras and 10,000 U.S. dollars, laptops, hard disks and cell phones were seized.
The governor’s office said the two suspects had received orders from senior IS figures in Syria and were preparing to take a car they had obtained in Gaziantep to Istanbul in order to launch a suicide bomb and firearm attack on a political party’s Istanbul branch.
It added that “an address belonging to the Ankara bureau of a nationwide newspaper and notes about the same newspaper’s office in Istanbul’s Şişli district were also found during the search.”
Daily Cumhuriyet’s Istanbul office is located in the Şişli district.