Russia – A police dog helped to find a cache with more than a kilogram of explosives of unknown origin. A bomb-disposal expert said extracting the explosives would be definitely unsafe and bomb technicians rolled in a water cannon, a source within Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) told RT on the 30 Apr 16. The federal highway M5 passing right in front of the house was blocked in both directions and people were evacuated from all nearby buildings. The house was used for gatherings of Salafis, followers of an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam, and it was not registered with the regional Muslim community as an official house of worship. Inside the house, the FSB’s Special Forces detained 53 young men, at least one of whom was promoting the Islamic State terror group online. According to an FSB source, the arrests made at the illegal prayer hall triggered a series of house raids, which helped uncover more explosives, handguns, grenades and ammo. The same source said other known members of that particular Salafi community are currently fighting in Syria for the jihadists.
Russia – Russia has foiled a string of plots ordered by “international terrorist organizations” active in Syria and Turkey, the FSB intelligence agency said on the 4 May 16 adding that several suspects had been arrested. “A group of immigrants from Central Asian countries who were planning to carry out a series of terrorist acts in the Moscow region” have been arrested, the FSB said, cited by state news agency RIA Novosti. The FSB added that the attacks, which would have struck in early May 16 had been ordered by “the leaders of international terrorist organizations active in Syria and Turkey”. Several high-profile cultural and political events occurred on the 1 May 16 in or near Moscow to mark Labour Day, a national holiday in Russia. In addition, this year the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter on May 1. On the 9 May 16 hundreds of thousands of people usually flock to the heart of the Russian capital for a military display and other celebrations to mark the anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. During the arrests, which occurred in Moscow but the date of which was not given, “a large number of arms and explosives” were seized, according to the FSB statement. Those arrested “are progressing towards making confessions”, it added. The announcement comes amid violent clashes since 22 Apr 16 between the Moscow-backed Damascus regime and Syrian rebels supported by Turkey, in Aleppo in northern Syria, despite diplomatic efforts to restore a ceasefire.
Russia/Dagestan/Da’esh – Police clashed with Islamist militants in Russia's volatile Dagestan region on the 14 May 16 with four rebels and two officers killed, local media quoted police as saying. Islamic State said its fighters were behind the attack. The police stormed an apartment in the southern town of Derbent after obtaining information that an injured senior officer held hostage by the militants was probably dead. "Law enforcers have finished a special operation to destroy the rebels," Interfax news agency quoted a police source as saying. "At least four rebels have been annihilated." One police officer was killed in the shootout and another 15 were wounded, a local health official told Russian agencies. The senior officer who had been held was confirmed dead by a police official, Interfax news agency said. Islamic State's Amaq news agency said its fighters had clashed with police in Derbent, saying they had killed three officers. It made no mention of losses among the militants. Islamic State has in the past said it was behind violent attacks on security forces in the North Caucasus, the volatile mainly Muslim part of Russia where Dagestan is located. Some militants in Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, where Moscow led two wars against separatists in 1990s, have sworn allegiance to Islamic State.
Turkey – A bomb attack outside the police headquarters in Turkey's south-eastern city of Gaziantep has killed two policemen and injured 22 others, officials said on the 1 May 16. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which happened about 60km from the Syrian border. Security sources, however, said police raided the home of a man suspected of links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group after the attack. The suspect's father was detained. Turkish media reported that an explosive-laden vehicle blew up next to the safety barriers at the entrance of the city's main police station. Two cars entered the area with assailants firing automatic weapons and police responding to the attack, the daily Hurriyet reported. One of the cars drove off, while the second exploded, according to the newspaper.
Turkey/Da’esh/Syria – Shelling by Turkish artillery and drones which took off from southern Turkey struck ISIS targets in Syria on the 1 May 16 killing 34 militants, the Turkish military said. It said the strikes, in response to ISIS rocket attacks which hit the southern Turkish province of Kilis, destroyed six vehicles and five ISIS gun positions. The border town of Kilis and surrounding area has been hit frequently by rocket fire from ISIS-controlled Syrian territory in recent months, killing civilians. On the strike on the 1 May 16, Turkish howitzers and multiple rocket launchers first hit ISIS targets about 12 km south of the border, then four drones that took off from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey destroyed further targets, the military said. Turkey has repeatedly fired back at Islamic State positions under its rules of engagement, but has said it needs greater support from Western allies, citing the difficulty of hitting moving targets with howitzers. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying last week that the United States would deploy a rocket launcher system near the stretch of border that has come under attack. A senior US military official confirmed the matter was under discussion but declined to comment further.
Turkey – Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants armed with rocket launchers and rifles attacked a military outpost in southeast Turkey, triggering a clash in which two Turkish soldiers and five PKK fighters were killed, the military said on the 2 May 16. The attack was launched in the Semdinli district of Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran, at 5:35 pm (1435 hrs GMT) on the 2 May the armed forces statement said. Thousands of militants and hundreds of security force members and civilians have been killed since the conflict between the PKK and the state resumed last July after a 2-1/2-year ceasefire. The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies, began its insurgency in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Turkey/Tourism – Officials in Ankara revealed they have thwarted an astonishing 85 terror attacks - including defusing LIVE bombs - since the turn of the year alone it was reported on the 3 May 16. A popular tourist spot, more than 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year for the sun, sea and exotic markets. But holidaymakers could be putting themselves at risk of serious injury or even death as a wave of terror attacks continues to spread across the country. Most of the attacks are linked to separatist Kurdish groups, although some have been claimed by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadis. Today the country's government confirmed it prevented 85 "major incidents" since Jan 16 - a day after the sixth suicide bombing in a Turkish city this year. At a briefing in the capital Ankara, Deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters: "We are making great efforts in the struggle against terror. "We have prevented 85 major incidents since January. Forty-nine of those included live bombs." The country has been hit by a series of suicide bombings this year, including two in its largest city Istanbul blamed on ISIS, and two in the capital Ankara which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group. It has also faced attacks from far leftist groups, mostly on police and security forces. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir. Istanbul, which attracts 7.5 million tourists every year, has been listed as a specific potential target by the UK Foreign Office, which has described the threat of terrorism there as ‘high’. A statement from the FCO said: "To date most attacks in Turkey have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul. "Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past. "The Turkish authorities have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks. "Nevertheless, further attacks are likely, could be indiscriminate and may target or affect places visited by foreigners."
Turkey/United Kingdom/United States – Hizb ut-Tahrir has written an open letter to staff at both embassies ordering them to "end [their] atrocities" and leave the country "immediately." The letter accuses the UK of being the instigators of terrorism, warning that Turkish people do not support western involvement it was reported on the 3 May 16. It also claims that Western states have used the "human rights" argument and 9/11 as an excuse to get involved in international conflicts. The international and non-violent Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir was founded in 1953 - decades before Islamic State (ISIS) - with the soul intention of 'resuscitating the caliphate'. In the last month, it has been hosting a series of conferences in Ankara and Istanbul calling for a caliphate to be reinstated in Turkey. But to do so, the group have demanded the closure of the US and British embassies to end terror in Turkey. In an open letter from Hizb ut Tahrir - translated roughly as the “party of delay” - representative Wilayah Turkey, the British and American Embassies were condemned for their alleged role in violence in the Middle East. It said: "You have always sought to hide your true face through your lie of democracy, your deception of human rights, and your insincere statements of peace. "But your masks slipped a long time ago. We the Muslims are very well aware of your hypocrisy and your true aspirations." The non-violent group claims that western capitalism has dehumanised its people and accused the UK and US of 'corrupting the whole world' and "obliterating" wherever western states "set foot". It reads: "You, as the United States of America and the United Kingdom, are the instigators and ringleaders of the wars and the terrorism that is taking place inside and outside of Turkey. "It is you who, especially after the Cold War period, have adopted this barbaric method and who are still making use of it for your selfish interests. "And it is you who in particular have terrorised the Muslim lands for years, by nourishing yourselves with blood, chaos and massacres. "We will certainly never forget what you have done! Therefore, do not be mistaken by the alliance and friendship of the leaders of Turkey and other countries. "Neither the Turkish people nor the people of the other Muslim countries regard you as being friends or allies. And they will never do so due to your greedy politics!" The country has been hit by a series of suicide bombings this year, including two in its largest city Istanbul blamed on ISIS, and two in the capital Ankara which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group. It has also faced attacks from far leftist groups, mostly on police and security forces. But Hizb ut Tahrir says these attacks have been caused by the UK and US, and ordered staff at their embassies to pack up and go home immediately. The letter added: "This letter is a warning and notice to you and your leaders from Hizb ut Tahrir Wilayah Turkey. "Immediately leave our soils, which you have terrorised by nourishing yourselves with blood, chaos and massacres! "Close your embassies that have turned into terror nests. End your atrocities. "For the Islamic countries have suffered enough from your terrorist attacks and the environment of chaos and disorder you created. "We do not want you anymore on these soils."
Turkey – Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu has said he will not seek a new term as prime minister and leader of the ruling AK Party after last-ditch talks aimed at easing tensions between him and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Davutoglu held a news conference on the 5 May 16 after a gathering of the party's central executive committee. "I came to the conclusion [a change in] leader of the party and the Prime Ministerial position would serve a better purpose," he said. "This must be carried out in a peaceful way, keeping with the integrity of the party." After a 90-minute crisis meeting on the 4 May 16 that local media described as critical for Davutoglu's future, domestic news organisations CNN-Turk and NTV reported that an extraordinary congress would likely signal his exit. The congress will be held on the 22 May 16. Andrew Finkel, an author and journalist based in Turkey said that Erdogan had demanded Davutoglu's resignation following yesterday's meeting. "Davutoglu will now have to comply with that demand and stand down at the congress ... and there will be a new leader of the AKP." According to AKP convention, the posts of party boss and head of government always go to the same person. Davutoglu had carved out his own strong profile, but tension had reportedly been growing between the men for months. Reports from Ankara, said differences had emerged on both domestic and foreign policy issues, despite both men trying to play it down. "Over the last 10 days, when the prime minister went to Doha to open a Turkish military base, the AK Party clipped his wings in one sense and took away his powers to appoint local and provincial party leaders. That didn't go down very well," she said. "Then mysteriously, two days later, a blog appeared on the internet 'The Pelican Brief' by an Erdogan loyalist taking down Davutoglu step by step on how he didn't perform well enough as prime minister." Potential successors to Davutoglu include Transport Minister Binali Yildirim and the youthful Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, 38, who is married to the president's eldest daughter, Esra. 361 COMMENT: The country needs to resolve this issue quickly. The country already has a problem with terrorism from two strong terrorist groups and one not so strong. Da’esh will seize this opportunity to create havoc and attempt to disrupt the leadership vote as well as the Prime Minister election. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) may also see this as an opportunity in two directions. The first would be a possible return to a peace process but the second could be an escalation in violence with a hope of forcing the government to the negotiating table. COMMENT ENDS
Turkey – The Turkish government has made the unusual move of confirming that its special forces entered Syria on the 7 May 16 on what it called a "reconnaissance mission". It was highly unusual for the Turkish government to announce a Special Forces operation conducted outside the country's borders. The operation was probably an attempt to stop the almost daily attacks on Kilis, a Turkish border province which has been hit by rockets from areas in Syria controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group. Separately, the Turkish military said it killed up to 55 ISIL fighters in the Baragitah area of northern Syria on the 7 May 16. According to Turkish media reports, three vehicles and three rocket launchers that belonged to ISIL were also destroyed during the Special Forces mission. More than 20 people have been killed and scores more wounded in attacks blamed on ISIL since the beginning of this year. Over the last two weeks rockets have been falling on the city on a daily basis. There is a lot of fear, frustration and concern in Kilis, the Turkish government is sending a message to the residents of Kilis with this operation, they are saying that they are actually trying to do something to make it stop. One day prior to the Turkish Special Forces operation, several prominent Kilis-based NGOs published an open letter in national newspapers, asking the Turkish state to take action. "Rockets are falling on our houses, shells are raining on us. We are being killed on the streets, we are being killed in our houses," the letter said. "We are Turkish citizens, we want to feel safe. Please hear our call, please respond. We know you did not forget us. We know you are trying to help," the letter continued. "But please be quick, we are dying. Kilis is under attack. Homeland is under attack." Kilis lies just across the border from an area controlled by ISIL. It is the only province in Turkey where refugees from the war in Syria - about 110,000 - now outnumber Turkish locals.