Istanbul, (Today’s Zaman): Seven members of Syria’s militant al-Nusra group were detained on Wednesday after police found sarin gas, which was reportedly going to be used in a bomb attack, during a search of the suspects’ homes, Turkish media have reported.
Newspapers claimed on Thursday that two kilograms of sarin gas, which is usually used for making bombs and was banned by the UN in 1991, had been found in the homes of suspects detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersin. Twelve suspects were caught by the police on Monday. The reports claimed that the al-Nusra members had been planning a bomb attack for Thursday in Adana but that the attack was averted when the police caught the suspects. Along with the sarin gas, the police seized a number of handguns, grenades, bullets and documents during their search. Five of the suspects were released later on Thursday.
In another incident in Adana, the police received intelligence that a bomb-laden vehicle had entered Adana, the bombs being of the same type used in a recent attack in Hatay’s Reyhanlı town, the Taraf daily reported on Thursday.
Security measures in Adana have been tightened in line with intelligence gathered. The Hatay National Provincial Police Department said that police officers are guarding the roads in and out of the province and are keeping an eye out in the province for the vehicle mentioned in the intelligence.
On May 11, one car bomb exploded outside the town hall while another went off outside a post office in Reyhanlı, a main hub for Syrian refugees and opposition activity in Hatay. Fifty-two people were killed and as many as 100 were injured in the bombings. Turkey blamed the Syrian regime for the attacks but Damascus has denied any role in the bombings.
Twelve suspects were arrested in connection with the car bombings. In the aftermath of the attack, claims were raised that the police force and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) did not fulfill their responsibilities to prevent the bombings from taking place.