Turkish police uncover plot to bomb synagogue

US Embassy also a target of al-Qaida plot, 'New York Times' reports; Turkish police arrest 12 in connection with plot.

Wreckage from synagogue blast in Istanbul 2003 370 (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)
Wreckage from synagogue blast in Istanbul 2003 370
(photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)
Turkish police uncovered a plot linked to al-Qaida to bomb a synagogue in Istanbul, the US embassy in Ankara and other targets, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Twelve people were arrested during a raid on two houses in Istanbul and Corlu in February, according to the Times. Eight of them were Turks, two were Chechens and two were Azeris.
According to reports, the Turkish police seized nearly 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) of plastic explosives with detonation systems, six laptops and other evidence.
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 US embassy and the Rahmi M. Koc Museum.
Turkish police said it was tracking an al-Qaida man that arrived in the city of Tekirdag two years ago after receiving military training in Afghanistan. The surveillance on him led to the February raid.
In February, a Turkish leftist group bombed the US Embassy in Ankara and caused the death of a Turkish security guard. The attacker blew himself up inside US property, blowing the door off a side entrance and sending smoke and debris flying into the street.
The most serious bombings of this kind in Turkey occurred in November 2003, when car bombs shattered two synagogues, killing 30 people and wounding 146. Authorities said the attack bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida.
Reuters contributed to this report.