TBILISI – Georgian security forces arrested on Tuesday five suspected terrorists believed to have links to a group that was planning attacks on diplomatic missions in the country and in Turkey.
The detainees had allegedly provided financial and material support to Akhmed Chatayev, who is believed to have organized the attack on Istanbul’s airport in 2016 that killed 45 people, said the Georgian state security service (SSSG) in a statement.
“As a result of joint activities carried out alongside American colleagues, automatic weapon cartridges, bullets, back-packs, maps, binoculars, radio sets and various other pieces of evidence have been seized,” said the SSSG.
Chatayev, whom the suspects may have helped cross the border into Turkey illegally and provided with weapons, was killed alongside two of his accomplices in another Georgian security operation last month.
The detainees were all Georgian nationals from the Pankisi region, near the Russian border.
According to the SSSG, Chatayev had fought with Chechen forces against the Russian army and later fled to Europe, where he joined the ranks of the Islamic State terror organization.