Two people arrested in Turkey over alleged plot to attack Ankara on New Year's Eve

It is reported that police seized suicide vests armed with bombs during the operation

suicide, vests, bombs, bombing, attack, new, year's, eve, islamic state, turkey

File photo. Image: Lefteris Pitarakis / AP/Press Association Images

Turkish police have detained two suspected Islamic State militants believed to be planning suicide attacks during New Year celebrations in central Ankara, officials said.

The two men were detained in a raid on a house in the low-income Mamak neighbourhood of Ankara.

Police seized a suicide vest armed with a bomb, an explosive device that was fortified with ball bearings and metal sticks and placed inside a backpack as well as bomb-making equipment, according to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's office.

The two Turkish nationals, identified by their initials MC and AY were being questioned by anti-terrorism police.

The prosecutor's office said the men had staked out possible locations in Ankara, where they could carry out the attacks.

State-run Anadolu Agency, quoting unnamed police and judiciary officials, said the would-be attackers were planning to detonate the bombs at two locations near bars and a shopping mall near Turkey's central Kizilay district during the celebrations.

"They were caught before they had the opportunity to take action," the prosecutor's office said.

The private NTV news channel, quoting security sources, said the two had "frequently" moved in and out of Syria and that security officials had been monitoring their movements for the past month.

Turkey is on high security alert after 103 people were killed on 10 October when two suicide bombers targeted a crowd of peace activists in Ankara, the worst attack in modern Turkey's history.

That attack was blamed on IS jihadis, like two other deadly strikes in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast earlier in the summer.

Over the past months Turkish authorities have cracked down on the group's so-called "sleeper cells" throughout the country.

Turkey has a 900-km border with Syria, some of which is controlled by Islamic State on the Syrian side and has been used as a transit route by would-be jihadis from early on in Syria's civil war.