Turkey foils 'NATO bomb plot'
Monday, May 3, 2004 Posted: 7:33 AM EDT (1133 GMT)
Weapons, computers, CDs of bin Laden speeches and bomb-making equipment are displayed by police.
(CNN) -- Turkish officials say police have foiled a bomb plot targeting a NATO summit in Istanbul that will be attended by world leaders including U.S. President George W. Bush.
Police detained at least 16 members of Ansar al Islam, a terrorist organization linked to al Qaeda, the governor of Bursa province said in a statement Monday.
Otuzkaan Koksal said police confiscated a large number of weapons and bomb-making materials in the raid in Bursa, 250 kilometers (160 miles) south of Istanbul.
He said officers seized about 4,000 CDs featuring training instructions from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Koksal said Ansar al Islam had planned to carry out more attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq after the June 28-29 NATO summit.
NTV television said some of those held had already taken part in the insurgency in Iraq.
Authorities said the arrests were based on a year-long investigation, CNN correspondent Alphonso Van Marsh reported.
Turkish police have been stepping up security ahead of the summit in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and commercial hub.
Istanbul suffered a series of devastating suicide truck bomb attacks in November targeting four British and Jewish sites in which 61 people were killed. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for those attacks.
NATO vowed the news of the alleged plot would not force it to reconsider its plan to hold the summit in Istanbul.
"The Turkish authorities are responsible for security and we have confidence in them," a spokeswoman told Reuters.