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Court releases 2 of 4 ISIL suspects caught with 150 kg of explosives in Gaziantep

A picture taken on February 9, 2017 shows confiscated explosives and related devices at the headquarters of the police in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. Turkey has detained four suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in its southeast accused of planning a major attack in the country. Police detained 150 kilograms of explosives, detonation equipment and two Kalashnikovs, with the country on high alert after the New Year Istanbul nightclub attack claimed by the group. / AFP PHOTO /

A court in Turkey’s southern Gaziantep province released two of four Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suspects who were caught with 150 kilograms of explosives on Thursday.

As part of a terror operation by the Gaziantep Police Department on Thursday, 150 kilograms of explosives, suicide attack belts, remote control detonators and several guns were seized in a raid on an apartment in Gaziantep.

Police detained four people whom authorities believe were planning to carry out a major terror attack.

Following their questioning at the Gaziantep Police Department, a penal court of peace in Gaziantep released two suspects pending trial and arrested two others on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

According to a statement by the Gaziantep Governor’s Office on Thursday, the suspects were taking orders from senior ISIL members operating in conflict zones in Syria.

More than 800 suspects were detained across Turkey last week as part of operations against ISIL that were stepped up after a New Year’s Day attack by ISIL on an İstanbul nightclub killed 39 people.

The police operation in Gaziantep came at the same time CIA Director Mike Pompeo was in Turkey to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief, Hakan Fidan.

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