Turkey detains four Iraqi nationals for planning attack on US Embassy

Turkish police outside the US Embassy in Ankara after four suspects were detained as part of an investigation into a possible attack on the embassy. (AP Photo)
Updated 05 March 2018

Turkey detains four Iraqi nationals for planning attack on US Embassy

ISTANBUL: Turkish police detained four Iraqi nationals on Monday on suspicion of planning an attack on the US Embassy in Ankara, the state-run Anadolu Agency said, hours after the mission temporarily closed due to a security threat.
Police detained four Iraqis residing in the Black Sea province of Samsun who had been preparing for an attack on the embassy, Anadolu said.
The embassy said it was closed to the public on Monday due to a security threat was only providing emergency services would be provided. It did not specify the nature of the security threat. It will also be closed on Tuesday.
It advised US citizens in Turkey to avoid large crowds, the embassy building, and to be aware of their own security when visiting tourist sites and crowded places.
While relations between the United States and Turkey — both NATO allies and members of the coalition against Daesh — have been strained in recent months, Turkey said the embassy closure was not political.
“The decision to close the American embassy is not a political one, it was taken on security grounds. The embassy has shared intelligence with the Turkish intelligence service and security forces,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, the government’s main spokesman, told a news conference.
“Both the intelligence service and security forces have taken extra measures, and important results have been achieved,” he said, without elaborating.
The United States suspended visa services at its missions in Turkey in October after two local employees were held on suspicion of ties to the failed 2016 coup. Ankara reciprocated and visa restrictions between the two were not lifted until the end of December.
The embassy said it would make an announcement when it was ready to reopen.


US military accuses Iranian forces of boarding Liberian-flagged civilian ship

Updated 13 August 2020

US military accuses Iranian forces of boarding Liberian-flagged civilian ship

WASHINGTON: The United States military on Wednesday said that Iranian forces had boarded a civilian vessel in international waters in the Gulf.
The US military’s Central Command released a grainy black-and-white video on Twitter showing a helicopter near a large ship.
“Today in international waters, Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian ‘Sea King’ helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called the ‘Wila,’” the US Central Command said in a tweet.
According to Refinitiv tracking data, Wila is a Liberian-flagged oil tanker and was currently anchored near the United Arab Emirates’ port of Khor Fakkan.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place near the Strait of Hormuz and the ship was eventually released by Iranian forces. The official said the United States military was not involved in anything other than monitoring the situation.
Tensions between Iran and the United States increased last year following a series of incidents involving shipping in and near the Gulf.
In July 2019, Iran briefly seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1, accused of violating sanctions on Syria.