Turkey: Police Kill Suspected ISIS Suicide Bomber in Ankara Before Attack

Ankara blast
A pair of shoes, belonging to a street vendor who was killed in twin blasts, stands as part of a tribute at the site of the explosion, Ankara, October 12, 2015. On Wednesday, Turkish authorities killed a suspected ISIS suicide bomber in the city before he could carry out an attack. Adem Altan/AFP/Getty

Turkish police killed a suspected Islamic State militant group (ISIS) suicide bomber in Ankara Wednesday ahead of a planned attack, according to officials and state media.

Authorities raided an apartment on the ninth floor of a building on the edge of the city after the suspect refused to give himself up and opened fire on police, Ercan Topaca, the governor of Ankara, said as quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency.

A gunfight ensued at around 3 a.m. local time, during which police killed him. Officers discovered explosive materials in his residence.

Topaca added that the suspect was planning a suicide bomb attack in the capital against public gatherings or events linked to two upcoming national holidays, Republic Day on October 29 and Remembrance Day on November 10, which mourns the death of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

It remains unclear if the raid is linked to the city’s decision Monday to ban public gatherings until the end of November.

The Ankara governor’s office said that it had made the decision after it received intelligence that “banned terror organizations were preparing actions in our province.” It did not name the organizations in question. It also falls in line with the state of emergency that the government implemented following the failed military coup in July.

Turkish security services remain on high alert after a series of deadly bomb blasts on its major cities, particularly Ankara, Istanbul and Gaziantep, in the past year, with ISIS and Kurdish militant factions mostly responsible. The most deadly attack on Turkish soil was a twin bomb blast on a peace rally in Ankara on October 2015, which the Turkish government blamed on ISIS.