Turkish Airlines flight from NY diverted to Canada after threat

The plane landed safely and police were searching it using dogs trained in explosives

FILE: The Halifax airport says the transfer of the 256 passengers and crew on the flight to the terminal was going smoothly and all were safe. Picture: AFP.

TORONTO - A Turkish Airlines flight bound for Istanbul from New York was diverted to Halifax, Canada, after a bomb threat, Canadian police said on Sunday.

The plane landed safely and police were searching it using dogs trained in explosives, the Nova Scotia branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Twitter.

"Investigation into bomb threat is in its early stages. Threat was received at 10:50 pm this evening," the police force tweeted.

Separately, the Halifax airport tweeted that the transfer of the 256 passengers and crew on the flight to the terminal was going smoothly and all were safe.

#RCMP will not be commenting on the details of the bomb threat. This will form part of the investigation. @HfxStanfield

#RCMP is looking to establish the origin of the threat and identify the person or persons responsible. @HfxStanfield

MT @HfxStanfield: Turkish Airlines passengers' move to terminal building underway .All going smoothly

MT @HfxStanfield: Turkish Airlines passenger transfer to terminal @HfxStanfield going smoothly. 256 passengers and crew on flight. All safe

Meanwhile, Turkish police detained 20 people suspected of links to Islamic State in its southwestern province of Antalya on Friday, a week before a seaside resort there hosts a G20 summit of world leaders, media reports said.

The arrests were part of a series of police operations against suspected Islamic State members across Turkey, a major conduit for militants crossing into neighbouring Syria.

Local police declined to comment but footage aired by broadcaster CNN Turk showed officers escorting suspects in handcuffs into police headquarters in Antalya, a major tourist resort area on the Mediterranean coast.

Turkey is imposing tight security ahead of the 15-16 November summit. It will be held in a beach resort away from the centre of Antalya city, with some 11,000 police officers on duty to assure security.

Anti-terror police carried out simultaneous raids in three districts of Antalya early on Friday, finding what they described as Islamic State materials, with two of those detained Russian and two of them women, Ihlas news agency said.

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to be among the leaders attending the summit.

Russia launched air strikes against fighters including Islamic State in Syria more than a month ago and an IS affiliate has claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt with the loss of 224 lives last Saturday.

Police also detained 41 people at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on suspicion they were going to join IS after a tip-off from a fellow passenger on their flight from Morocco, Dogan news agency said. Twenty of them were deported and 21 were still being held.

Turkey vowed to take a more active role in combating Islamic State in July and President Tayyip Erdogan has said operations against them will continue.

The radical militants control territory along the Turkish border and have been linked to the suicide bombing last month of a pro-Kurdish rally in Ankara that killed more than 100 people.

The governor's office in southern Kilis province, bordering Syria, said it detained six people, five of them foreigners, who were seeking to enter the IS controlled territory.

This week, Turkey said it arrested nine suspected Islamic State members believed to have been preparing a suicide bomb attack in Istanbul.