Report: Suicide bomber in Istanbul stalked group of Israelis

Turkish authorities identified the suicide bomber behind Saturday's attack in Istanbul as a member of Islamic State.

March 21, 2016 10:53
2 minute read.

Scene of suicide attack in Istanbul

Scene of suicide attack in Istanbul

According to the Turkish media outlet Haberturk, security cameras revealed that the terrorist who perpetrated the attack that killed five people including three Israelis in Istanbul on Saturday followed the group before he detonated himself.

The attack, in which 36 people were wounded, took place on the popular Istiklal pedestrian mall.

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Haberturk said police had been examining CCTV footage and that it appeared the suicide bomber had followed the group of Israeli tourists for several kilometers from their hotel, then waiting outside the restaurant where they ate breakfast before blowing himself up as they emerged.

Turkish authorities identified the suicide bomber behind the attack as a member of Islamic State born in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said on Sunday.

"We have determined that Mehmet Ozturk, born in 1992 in Gaziantep, has carried out the heinous attack on Saturday in Istanbul. It has been established that he is a member of Daesh," Ala told a news conference broadcast live on television.

The attack appeared similar to a January suicide bombing in another tourist area of Istanbul. In the previous attack, which the Turkish government attributed to the Islamic State, a pedestrian suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of German tourists near the city's historic center.

Saturday's suicide bombing was the fourth such attack in Turkey this year, bringing the death toll to more than 80. Responsibility for the past two attacks, both suicide car bombings in the capital Ankara, was claimed by a PKK offshoot.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote a letter of condolences to President Reuven Rivlin Sunday, saying he was “very sorry” to hear that three Israelis were killed and 10 wounded in the Istanbul attack.

“That cruel attack proved again that the international community must unite in its struggle against terrorism that threatens all of mankind and our basic values, and represents a crime against humanity,” he wrote.

Erdogan wrote that the courage demonstrate against terrorist organizations that want to sow fear, gives us strength in our struggle.

“I want to send my deepest condolences to the Israeli people and the families that lost their loved ones in this traitorous attack in Istanbul, as they were visiting the city and wanting to get to know our culture better. I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

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