Turkish cop fatally stabbed by suspected IS suicide bomber; attacker shot dead

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Police investigators work at the crime scene after a knife attack in a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany, July 28, 2017. Reuters/Morris Mac Matzen

A Turkish police officer was stabbed to death on Sunday by a man suspected to be a member of the Islamic State. The suspect, who was believed to be an IS suicide bomber, was taken into custody in Istanbul.

According to Dogan news service, the assailant stabbed the officer as he was taken out of a patrol car near a police station after his arrest. The suspect was then shot dead by police, the Anadolu agency reports. The officer was taken from the scene in an ambulance but died from his wounds.

It was unclear how the attacker had managed to keep a knife while in custody. He was supposed to be taken to the main Istanbul police station. Two police officers escorted him. Authorities suspected that the attacker was planning to carry out a suicide bombing.

Anti-terror officers in Istanbul detained alleged IS members last month. Many of them, according to the police, were preparing a "sensational attack" in Turkey.

Last week, Turkish police revealed they were working with Australian authorities in the investigation of a foiled plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight using explosives, which Canberra said were from Turkey. Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan said the explosives used to build the bomb were sent by air cargo from Turkey as part of a plot "inspired and directed" by the militant IS group.

In a statement, Turkish authorities said they immediately contacted Aussie officials when they received news of the foiled plot. The two sides have "started working to clarify unclear and unconfirmed matters regarding the possibility that explosive substances were sent from Turkey three months ago," the statement carried by Turkish media reads. The plot, which targeted an Etihad Airways flight on July 15, was not carried out as the bomb never made it past airport security.

Turkey was hit by a succession of attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in 2016. Last year was said to be the bloodiest year of terror strikes in its history.

Just 75 minutes into New Year's Day 2017, an attack by a jihadist gunman on a nightclub in Istanbul left 39 people dead. Although there has since been a lull in similar attacks, high security remains in big cities.

IS jihadists were held responsible for the attacks. The IS had taken swathes of territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

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