ISTANBUL SUICIDE BOMBER 13 arrested in Turkey
Posted on 01/13/2016 | About Turkey
Turkish police on Wednesday arrested 13 suspected Islamic State militants, including three Russian nationals, a day after a suicide bomber killed 10 foreigners - most of them German tourists - in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district. T
Turkish authorities identified the bomber as a Syrian born in 1988, who had recently entered Turkey and was not among a list of potential bombers wanted by Turkey. Turkish media, including newspapers close to the government, identified him as Nabil Fadli, and said he was born in Saudi Arabia. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the perpetrator was a member of IS and pledged to battle the militant group until it no longer “remains a threat” to Turkey or the world. Turkey's state-run news agency said Davutoglu held a telephone conversation with German chancellor Angela Merkel to express his condolences. A senior government official confirmed that most of the victims were German. Merkel had earlier said they were part of a German travel group.
“I strongly condemn the terror incident that occurred in Istanbul, at the Sultanahmet Square, and which has been assessed as being an attack by a Syria-rooted suicide bomber,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. Merkel, speaking at a news conference in Berlin, decried the attack. “Today Istanbul was hit; Paris has been hit, Tunisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit before,” she said. “International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today.”
The explosion, which could be heard from several neighbourhoods, was at a park that is home to a landmark obelisk, some 25 metres (yards) from the historic Blue Mosque. Turkey's Dogan news agency reported that one Norwegian and one Peruvian were also among the wounded, and Seoul's Foreign Ministry told reporters via text message that a South Korean had a finger injury. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry told news agency NTB that the Norwegian tourist was slightly hurt and was being treated in a local hospital. Germany and Denmark have warned their citizens to avoid crowds outside tourist attractions in Istanbul.
Last year, Turkey agreed to take a more active role in the US-led battle against the IS group. Turkey opened its bases to US aircraft to launch air raids on the extremist group in Syria and has carried out a limited number of strikes on the group itself. It has also moved to tighten security along its 900-kilometre (560-mile) border with Syria in a bid to stem the flow of militants. The attack comes at a time of heightened violence between Turkey's security forces and militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in the country's mostly-Kurdish southeast.
The country is also dealing with more than 2 million Syrian refugees and a wave of migrants from Syria and other countries pouring across Turkey to Europe. Police sealed the area, barring people from approaching in case of a second explosion, and a police helicopter hovered overhead. The Sultanahmet neighbourhood is Istanbul's main sightseeing area and includes the Topkapi Palace and the former Byzantine church of Haghia Sophia, now a museum.
As with previous attacks, authorities imposed a news blackout, barring media from showing images of the dead or injured or reporting any details of the investigation. Turkey suffered two major bombing attacks last year, both blamed on the Islamic State group. Last month, Turkish authorities arrested two suspected IS militants they said were planning suicide bombings during New Year's celebrations in the capital Ankara.