ISIS truck bombing plot to strike İncirlik Air Base thwarted

ISIS truck bombing plot to strike İncirlik Air Base thwarted

Authorities say that ISIS planned to carry out a truck bombing targeting İncirlik Air Base, which hosts U.S. and Turkish troops in the southern city of Adana. An indictment of 11 suspects recently captured in Adana claims one of the suspects discussed the plans using a truck and a car laden with bombs to attack the base, which serves as a critical hub for anti-ISIS operations in Syria.

On June 22, Adana couterterrorism police captured 11 suspects, including what the media called the Adana “emir” of Daesh, identified as 32-year-old Turkish national Abdulkerim Ç.

The indictment, based on testimonies of three suspects, says Fevzi T., another jailed suspect, discussed with them the plans to attack the base as well as “a number of apostates” in Turkey and Adana, and they talked about how to find someone who will assemble explosives for them.

Ersin K., one of the suspects, told interrogators that he met Fevzi T. when he came to Adana to sneak into Syria to fight for the terrorist group. “One day, he was talking to Ali K. [another detained suspect] about the attack on İncirlik. Ali told him it was impossible. They also discussed possible attacks on ‘apostates’ [people with religious background who oppose the Daesh’s extremist ideology],” he told investigators.

Ali K. acknowledged the discussion and said he ruled out an attack on İncirlik because of tight security at the base.

“I told him they would stop us even before we launched an attack. Fevzi told me they can use two vehicles, a car and a truck trailing it. He said the smaller car would breach through the security walls at the entrance and the truck would enter through breached spot and be detonated,” Ali K. said. He said the terrorist group did reconnaissance around the base beforehand but found it impossible to launch an attack.

In the latest crackdown against the ISIS terrorist group, security forces killed five militants while engaging in a shootout in the central city of Konya on July 12. Nationwide operations that day also netted 233 people, including suspects who were planning to carry out attacks during events to mark the first anniversary of last year’s coup attempt.

Daesh became one of the most active terrorist groups in Turkey over a span of just two years. It has been blamed for a string of attacks in the country ranging from suicide bombings to gun attacks. In January, a lone Daesh gunman stormed a popular nightclub in Istanbul and killed 39 people during New Year’s Eve celebrations. The gunman was apprehended a few weeks later.

Turkey is one of Daesh’s many enemies. The group emerged in Iraq and Syria, both of which share a border with Turkey. Turkey is tackling an influx of foreign fighters looking to sneak into Syria and Iraq where ISIS controls towns and large swathes of territory.

Since the terrorist group’s emergence, Turkey has detained over 5,000 suspects and launched Operation Euphrates Shield last year to back Syrian opposition groups fighting ISIS in Syria. The operation, which took place from August 2016 to Aprilb of this year, saw the liberation of the Syrian towns of Jarablus, al-Rai, Dabiq and al-Bab from ISIS control.

Turkey has deported over 5,000 Daesh suspects, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said. The president said that the country also prevented the entry of over 53,000 terrorist suspects and destroyed ISIS terrorists along the border, allowing 100,000 Syrians to return to their homes. “With Operation Euphrates Shield, we killed over 3,000 Daesh terrorists [in northern Syria],” Erdoğan said.

ISIS attacks in Turkey, which increased between July 2015 and August 2016, and have killed nearly 300 people, drastically decreased after the operation was launched on Aug. 24, 2016. After that, ISIS has only carried out one terrorist attack inside Turkey.

Source: Daily Sabah