Turks: Plot to blow up synagogue, U.S. Embassy foiled

(JTA) — Turkish police disrupted an alleged plot to bomb a synagogue in Istanbul and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.

The New York Times, citing Turkish media, reported Thursday that 12 people were arrested in a February raid on two houses in Istanbul and Corlu. Eight of them were Turks, and two each were Chechens and Azeris.

Turkish police seized nearly 50 pounds of plastic explosives, six laptop computers and other evidence during a raid on two terrorist cells.

Documents found on the computers, including photographs and floor plans, revealed preparations for bomb attacks on a synagogue in the Balat district of Istanbul, the U.S. Embassy and the Rahmi M. Koc Museum.

Turkish police said it had tracked an al-Qaida affiliate who arrived in the city of Tekirdag two years ago after receiving military training in Afghanistan. The surveillance led to the February raid.

In February, a Turkish leftist group bombed the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard. The attacker blew himself up inside U.S. property, blowing the door off a side entrance and sending smoke and debris flying into the street.

In November 2003, car bombings in Istanbul shattered two synagogues, killing 30 people and wounding 146. Authorities said the attack was characteristic of al-Qaida.

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