12 People Arrested

Turkey: Al-Qaida Cell Planned to Bomb U.S. Embassy, Synagogue

Police find large amount of explosives, firearms and laptops in raid on two Istanbul houses; targets included U.S. Embassy in Ankara and a synagogue in Istanbul's Balat district.

Turkish police said Friday they exposed a plot by a cell linked to Al-Qaida to bomb American and Jewish targets in the country, local media outlets reported.
The reports said two of the targets on the list were the United States Embassy in Ankara and a synagogue in Istanbul.

According to the reports, the information was gathered during a two-year operation in which the police was monitoring an Al-Qaida member who received training at the organization's camps in Afghanistan.

The operation led the police to two cell houses near Istanbul, where they found what was described as serious amounts of explosives ready to be detonated. Police, reports added, also seized six laptop computers, rifles and guns. Twelve people were arrested during the raid, police officials said, including eight Turks, two Chechens and two Azeris.

Forensic examination of the six laptops and documets police obtained revealed that the cell was preparing attacks on popular Turkish television personalities, besides plans to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, a synagogue in Istanbul's Balat district and a private museum. It was said that documents included photographs and floor plans of the targets along with other information concerning the targets.