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Turkey arrests suspected Islamic State suicide bomber

Published 15/12/2015

The Islamic State militant is suspected of planning a suicide attack against the US Consulate in Istanbul
The Islamic State militant is suspected of planning a suicide attack against the US Consulate in Istanbul

An Islamic State militant suspected of planning a suicide attack against the US Consulate in Istanbul has been arrested in Turkey.

The Syrian man was detained "in the past few days" at a bus station in the city of Kahramanmaras, close to the border with Syria, according to a government official.

A court in Kahramanmaras ordered him jailed pending trial following questioning by anti-terror police.

Last week, the US Consulate in Istanbul warned US citizens to avoid the building because of information about a security threat, and suspended consular services for a day.

Unconfirmed Turkish news reports had said the consulate was placed on high alert following intelligence about plans by IS militants for a suicide attack.

The US Embassy in Ankara also provided "limited operations" on Monday and Tuesday because of an unspecified security threat.

Turkey's Anadolu Agency identified the suspect as Muhammed Raghil al-Hardani.

It said Turkish intelligence established that al-Hardani had crossed into Turkey "a while ago" and planned to attack the consulate. The intelligence was shared with US officials.

According to Anadolu, authorities traced the man in Samsun, a city in northern Turkey, and monitored his movements.

He was detained at the bus station in Kahramanmaras on his way to Gaziantep province, bordering Syria, while dining with another Syrian.

Anadolu said the second Syrian was released after questioning.

Turkey was rocked by two suicide bombings - blamed on a Turkish IS cell - near a town on the Syrian border in July and in Ankara in October. More than 130 people were killed in those attacks.

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