Turkey says Istanbul bombing suspect is Syrian national linked to Kurdish groups

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Turkey says Istanbul bombing suspect is Syrian national linked to Kurdish groups
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CNN

The detained woman, suspected of carrying out the deadly bomb attack in Istanbul on Sunday, is a Syrian national who was trained by Kurdish militants, according to Turkish authorities.

Turkish police said in a statement that the suspect entered the country through the northern Syrian city of Afrin without papers to carry out the attack in the heart of Turkey’s largest city, which killed at least six people and injured more than 80 others.

Officers scanned 1,200 security cameras to determine the route of the alleged attacker, who allegedly planted the bomb at the scene before departing in a taxi, the statement said. Some 46 people were arrested, police added.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said earlier that the government believed that Kurdish separatists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) were most likely responsible for the aggression, an assertion denied by the armed wing of the PKK.

“It is a PKK/PYD terrorist organization according to our preliminary findings,” Soylu told a news conference at the scene of the attack on Istiklal Avenue. He did not elaborate or provide details on how investigators reached that conclusion.

The police added, “During interrogation, the person stated that he was trained as a special intelligence officer by the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization and entered our country illegally via Afrin for this attack”.

The People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the armed wing of the PKK, denied any involvement in Sunday’s explosion, according to a statement from the group carried by the pro-PKK outlet Agence News Firat (ANF).

“We offer our condolences to the relatives of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. We have nothing to do with this incident,” the group said, according to ANF.

A spokesman for the Kurdish Armed People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the general commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi, also denied any involvement in Sunday’s attack. The US-allied SDF is the official defense force of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria and its armed forces are led by the YPG.

The conflict between Turkey and Kurdish separatist groups has been going on for four decades and has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The PKK, which seeks to create an independent state in Turkey, has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu Said The Government Believed Kurdish Militant Groups Were Likely Responsible For The Attack, A Claim The Pkk's Armed Camp Denied.

Security camera footage of Sunday’s incident shows a woman sitting on a bench for more than 40 minutes, then getting up a minute or two before the explosion, leaving a bag or plastic bag behind, said Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on A Haber news channel on Sunday.

The TNT explosive was detected on citizens who lost their lives, on the vehicle the suspect used and at the crime scene, according to a chemical analysis carried out by the police.

The blast occurred on Istiklal Street in Beyoglu Square, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said.

“We wish God’s mercy to those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the injured,” Yerlikaya tweeted.

The six people killed include Yusuf Meydan, a member of Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Services, and his daughter Ecrin, according to Derya Yanık, the agency’s minister.

Soylu told reporters on Monday that 50 of the 81 people injured have been discharged from hospital, and 31 people are still being treated.

Witness Tariq Keblaoui said he was shopping on Istiklal Street when the explosion happened about 10 meters (32.8 feet) in front of him.

“People dispersed immediately,” said Keblaoui, a Lebanon-based journalist on his last day of vacation in the city.

“Very soon after, I could see how many injured people were on the ground,” Keblaoui told CNN. He says he saw corpses and seriously injured victims.

Tariq Keblaoui, Who Witnessed The Attack, Compared The Explosion To

“There was a man in the store who was bleeding from his ears and legs, and his friends were crying near him,” Keblaoui said.

Istiklal Street was packed with visitors when the blast happened on Sunday afternoon, he said.

“It went very quickly from a very peaceful Sunday with a busy street full of tourists to what looked like the aftermath of a war zone,” Keblaoui said.

The Tnt Explosive Was Detected At The Crime Scene, According To Turkish Police.

World leaders united in condemning the attack.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted his “deepest condolences” to the Turkish people, while French President Emmanuel Macron said: “To the Turks: we share your pain. We are at your side in the fight against terrorism.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his “deep sadness” at the news of the blast. “I offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” Zelensky said. “The pain of the friendly Turkish people is our pain.”

The Coffins Of The Victims Are Carried In A Funeral Ceremony On Monday.

The United States “strongly condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Sunday. “Our hearts go out to those who were injured and our deepest condolences go out to those who lost loved ones.”

Soylu rejected the White House’s condolence message regarding the attack, saying, “Our alliance with a country whose Senate sends funds to this mentality that provides funds for Kobani and other terrorist areas and aims to disrupt the peace in Turkey must be questioned. It is clear.

CNN has contacted the US State Department to comment on Soylu’s remarks.

Cnn

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