Report: Turkey arrests alleged bombers planning attack on gay march

Turkish authorities arrested three suspected suicide bombers from the Islamic State extremist group, alleging they had planned to attack a banned gay-rights march over the weekend, the Dogan news agency reported Wednesday.

The Trans Pride march was scheduled for Sunday in Istanbul but was banned by the governor citing security concerns. Riot police dispersed the event.

A larger Gay Pride march was scheduled for this Sunday, but has also been banned. Some activists say they will still go ahead with the event despite threats from an ultra-nationalist group.

Last year's march was broken up violently by police using tear gas and water cannon, apparently over religious concerns. The event had become a fixture in Istanbul for more than a decade, with the crackdown surprising supporters.

Turkey, officially secular, is a Muslim majority nation governed by the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), which increasingly reaches out to conservative and nationalist sentiments.

The three alleged bombers were detained last week, the report said, noting that two were from Dagestan, a restive Russian region.

Meanwhile, Yeni Safak, a pro-government newspaper, reported that the authorities are planning to establish a special policing unit to deal with the increasing threat of suicide bombers.

Since last year, hundreds have died in about 10 such attacks, perpetrated, authorities say, by hardline Kurdish militants and Islamic State.

Last update: Wed, 22/06/2016 - 12:50
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