A suspected Islamic State supporter has been arrested by Turkish authorities who reportedly believe he was planning a terrorist attack on a first world war commemoration in Gallipoli this week.
According to multiple reports, the suspect has been named as Abdulkerim Hilef, 25, and police believe the alleged attack was planned in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque massacre.
Hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders are in Turkey this week to pay their respects and remember fallen soldiers, and the arrest came just hours before the Anzac Day dawn service was set to take place.
According to The Australian, the Syrian national was detained in Tekirdag, a northwestern province close to the Gallipoli peninsula.
It reportedly came after authorities monitored mobile phone communications with identified ISIS members.
"You couldn't let terror scares stop you from doing things in life." A foiled terror plot hasn't stopped Australians in Gallipoli from paying their respects to our diggers. #9Today pic.twitter.com/2iPv1lhLjx
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 24, 2019
Full security checks are now underway across Anzac Cove and the national park that encompasses the battlefields. Meanwhile, those planning to attend the dawn service have been told to arrive 11 hours early, in the wake of the arrest.
The Australian Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed to the news outlet that they were aware of the claims in the Turkish media of an arrest.
“This is a matter for the Turkish authorities,’’ the department reportedly said in a statement.
“Australian and New Zealand authorities are liaising with the responsible Turkish authorities in relation to this media reporting.
“Planning and preparations for the Anzac commemorations at Gallipoli are continuing.’’
And it comes as more security and police officers are expected to take to Australian streets and monitor Anzac Day services, following the Easter Sunday Sri Lanka terrorist attacks.
NSW Police confirmed in a statement that officers would be attending services in Sydney’s CBD, as well as smaller rural communities.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke added: “Anzac Day is about honouring the brave men and women who served our country and who paid the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our freedom.
“Like all major events, we want people to enjoy Anzac Day in a safe and secure environment, without the fear of being subjected to anti-social behaviour or alcohol-related crime.
“Police are encouraging anyone planning to attend one of the many events across the state, to do so safely and in the spirit of comradery and mateship, to look out for one another.”