Four Iraqi nationals suspected of membership in the Islamic State terror organization were detained Monday in connection with threats against the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
The suspects were arrested in Samsun, a city on the Black Sea, by Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and local anti-terror authorities “in an operation against ISIL” – another name for Islamic State – the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Several digital documents were also seized in the operation as well.
The suspects were charged with plotting an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Turkish forces arrested 12 other Islamic State-linked suspects in Ankara, and were searching for eight others, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. However, it is not clear whether all or any of these suspects were linked to the plot to attack the U.S. Embassy.
The embassy was closed Monday and will also be closed again Tuesday in response to those threats. American citizens were warned to “keep a low profile,” “maintain awareness,” and to “stay away from large crowds” in the country. The Embassy said in a statement on its website that it was closed “due to a security threat. The Embassy will announce its reopening, once it resumes services.” No details were provided about the specific threat, nor was it clear exactly when the embassy would reopen. U.S. consulates elsewhere in the country were operating as normal.
“Upon intelligence coming to our units from U.S. sources that terrorist actions could be undertaken targeting the U.S. Embassy and where U.S. citizens are staying, security measures have been reviewed and extra measures have been taken,” the Governor’s Office said, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
Turkish police officers stood guard outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital on Monday, and also searched pedestrians before allowing them to enter the street to the main gate of the embassy.