Australia: Terrorists may be planning Anzac Day attack in Turkey

Extremists may be planning to attack the Anzac Day remembrance service in Turkey this month, Australia and New Zealand have warned.

Anzac Day commemorates the first major battle involving troops from Australia and New Zealand in Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915.

Hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders travel to the site every year for a military dawn service.

Australian Veterans Affairs minister Dan Tehan has warned those attending to exercise a high degree of caution but offered no specifics about the alleged threat.

“It is just that terrorists may indeed try to carry out a terrorist attack during the celebrations,” he said in Canberra. “That is all we have got at this stage.”

Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Mike Phelan would not reveal what prompted the warning, saying only that the government had received information that extremists may attack the services being held on the Gallipoli peninsula.

Mr Phelan said there was no specific plot linked to the alert.

Mr Tehan said Australia and New Zealand were working closely with Turkish authorities on security arrangements, but the commemoration was scheduled to continue as planned.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, said in a statement that Turkish authorities were aware of the information “and traditionally provide a high level of protective security around Anzac Day commemorations on the peninsula”.

The statement also advised travelers to “reconsider their need to travel” to Ankara and Istanbul.

For the past two years Australian police have said they thwarted planned attacks on Anzac Day celebrations in Australia.

In 2015, police in Melbourne arrested five teenagers on suspicion of plotting an Islamic State terror group-inspired attack intended to coincide with the city’s Anzac service.

In 2016, police arrested a 16-year-old and charged him with planning an attack on an Anzac ceremony in Sydney.

New Zealand’s foreign minister Murray McCully urged his countrymen in Turkey to be vigilant in public places and monitor the media for updates on potential safety risks.


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