By BosNewsLife News Center
ISTANBUL, TURKEY (BosNewsLife)-- Suspected members of terror group al-Qaida faced additional charges Saturday, December 10, including planning to bomb churches in the capital Ankara, Turkish media reported.
About a dozen militants who are already accused of planning to attack the United States Embassy in the capital had also plotted to target churches and Turkey's parliament, said the influential Taraf daily, which claimed to have seen the indictments against 11 alleged militants.
It said police also seized plans how to target the parliament building and a list of churches as well as names and home addresses of church staffers in Ankara.
Besides chapels on Ankara’s British, French, Greek, Italian and Vatican embassy grounds, the capital city has several international churches and some Turkish Protestant congregations.
Those mentioned are among 14 suspected al-Qaida militants police detained in a series of raids across western Turkey in July. They included alleged al-Qaida members with 700 kilograms of explosives, officials said.
Turkish officials said at the time that the militants were almost ready to attack the embassy when they were captured in July, just ahead of a visit to the nation by U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The additional planned bombing of churches is the latest in a series of sometimes deadly violence against Christians in this heavily Islamic nation.
Several Christians, including church leaders and missionaries, have been killed or injured by Islamic militants or their sympathizers in Turkey since 2007.
While police and other officials declined to comment on the latest findings, Turkish authorities have said dozens of radical militants received training in the ranks of al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
An attack blamed on al-Qaida-affiliated militants outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul in 2008 left three assailants and three policemen dead.
Homegrown Islamic militants tied to al-Qaida attacked the British Consulate, a British bank and two synagogues in Istanbul in 2003, killing 58 people.