Turkish security forces have foiled an Islamic State terrorist plot to bomb the consulates of Sweden and the Netherlands in Istanbul and target religious sites, including synagogues, in the city.
According to Turkish media, authorities busted a cell of 15 ISIS terrorists who were planning attacks in response to the Jan. 21 burning of a Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
The demonstration was led by Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, who heads the Danish political party Stram Kurs (“Straight Course” or “Hard Line”). Days later, he burned a copy of the Koran near a mosque in Copenhagen and outside the Turkish embassy in the Danish capital.
The intelligence that led to the arrests in Turkey suggested that the cell may have received instructions from the Islamic State-Khorasan Province, which is active in South and Central Asia.
The U.S. embassy in Turkey last week warned Americans of possible “imminent retaliatory attacks” in the country “against churches, synagogues and diplomatic missions in Istanbul or other places Westerners frequent, especially in the [city’s] Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim and Istiklal areas.”