Islamic State suspects held in Turkey over transgender attack plot

Three suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants were arrested in Istanbul late on June 17 after a tip-off that they had planned to attack an LGBT Trans Pride march held on June 19 in the city’s central Taksim Square.

The suspects – one Turkish national and two from Russia’s volatile Dagestan republic – were detained after a simultaneous operation in Istanbul’s Başakşehir and Pendik districts, on Istanbul’s European and Asian sides, respectively.

Officers said they were acting on intelligence reports that the jihadist group was plotting to attack the “Trans Pride” rally on June 19.

A suicide vest, camouflage clothing, military blades, laser range finders and a large number of print and digital documents were seized during the raids.

All three suspects were arrested by a local court.

Istanbul police took strict measures ahead of the June 19 Trans Pride march, after the city’s governor announced that they would not allow any LGBT Pride events, due to take place between June 19 and June 26, citing security concerns and public order.

The governor’s ban on the parade came just three days after the Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), vowed that they would prevent the march.

The main LGBT Pride March scheduled for June 26 has also been banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office. The march was held for 13 consecutive years until last year, when it was subjected to a heavy police intervention with tear gas and rubber bullets.

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