ISIS extremist plotting to
commemoration on Anzac
Day is arrested - as security
suspect, 26-year-old Syrian Abdulkerim Hilef, has been detained in a
province near Gallipoli peninsula
authorities say they arrested the man after monitoring his
communication with ISIS members
than 1,300 Australians and New Zealanders are registered to attend
the commemoration in Turkey
25 April, 2019
Turkish authorities have arrested a suspected Islamic State member they believe was planning to attack a WWI commemoration at Gallipoli on Thursday just hours before hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Australia.
The suspect, 26-year-old Syrian national Abdulkerim Hilef, has been detained in Tekirdag, a northwestern province close to the Gallipoli peninsula.
Turkish authorities said they arrested the man after monitoring his alleged telecommunications with identified ISIS members, believing he had plans to attack the dawn service in 'retribution for the Christchurch terror attack'.
More than 1,300 Australians and New Zealanders are registered to attend the commemoration, with several thousand Turkish police expected to patrol the area.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson lamented fundamentalists with 'heinous motives' trying to disrupt Anzac Day services after the potential terror plot was foiled.
Dr Nelson praised Turkish authorities for dealing with the issue.
'It's a reflection of the fact that we do have some people who have heinous motives,' he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
'The Turkish authorities went to extraordinary lengths to see that the Gallipoli peninsula was secure for the Anzac Day services that are being held there.'
Turkish nationals were banned from attending the dawn service, which Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell is due to be at, amid heightened security fears.
'Unfortunately we live in a world where there are people - wherever they live, whatever their background, whatever their beliefs - who are fundamentalists intent on disrupting what we do,' Dr Nelson said.
A bomb search was underway at Gallipolli to ensure the safety of thousands of people scheduled to attend the service.
Turkish forces are conducting security checks every couple of hundred metres in the national park surrounding Anzac Cove, The Australian reported.