Turkish police arrest 5 in connection with Istanbul suicide attack

ISTANBUL -- Turkish police have arrested five people suspected of direct links to the deadly suicide bombing that killed 10 Germans in Istanbul's main tourist area, officials said Wednesday.

See Full Article

More than a dozen other suspected IS militants were detained Wednesday in other parts of the country and 59 a day earlier, but officials say they don't appear to be tied to Tuesday's attack just steps away from the Blue Mosque in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district.

One suspect with a link to the attack was detained in Istanbul late Tuesday, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said during a news conference with his German counterpart. He didn't provide further details.

Turkish media said police raided a home in an affluent Istanbul neighbourhood, briefly detaining one woman suspected of links to the Islamic State group, although it wasn't clear if she was the suspect Ala was referring to. The Hurriyet newspaper said the woman was detained because a mobile phone -- which she had reported stolen -- had been used to call the bomber. The paper said she was released after questioning.

Hours later, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced the arrest of four other people as part of the investigation. He didn't provide further details about them.

Turkish authorities have identified Tuesday's bomber as a Syrian man born in 1988 who had recently entered Turkey, and officials say he had IS links. The Islamic State group, however, hasn't claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turkish media, including newspapers close to the government, identified the bomber as Nabil Fadli and said he was born in Saudi Arabia. Ala confirmed reports that the bomber had registered with a refugee agency, providing fingerprints that allowed officials to quickly identify him, but said the suicide bomber wasn't on any Turkish or international watch lists for IS militants.

The impact of Tuesday's attack, while not as deadly as two others last year, was particularly far-reaching because it struck at Turkey's $30 billion tourism industry, which has already suffered from a steep decline in Russian visitors since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in November.

Turkish police on Wednesday arrested 13 more suspected IS militants, including three Russians, but it wasn't clear if those arrests were directly linked to the Istanbul bombing. The state-run Anadolu Agency said 59 people were detained on Tuesday.

The attack, which also wounded 15 other people -- including Germans, a Norwegian man and a Peruvian woman -- was the latest in a string of attacks by Islamic extremists targeting Westerners. On Wednesday, Davutoglu, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and other Turkish officials visited the site of the blast and placed carnations there.

Germany sent a team of investigators to Istanbul on Wednesday from its Federal Criminal Police Office, which is comparable to the FBI, to support Turkish authorities investigating the attack.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said the number of dead Germans in Tuesday's explosion had risen to 10, but de Maiziere said there was no sign that Germans were specifically targeted.

"According to the investigations so far, there are no indications that the attack was directed specifically against Germans, so there can't be any connection to our contribution to the fight against international terrorism," de Maiziere said.

Germany promised Tornado reconnaissance jets to aid military effort against the Islamic State group in Syria following the November attacks in Paris, and they started flying missions from the Incirlik air base in Turkey last week. It also sent a tanker aircraft, as well as a frigate to help protect a French aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean.

Germany already was helping supply and train Kurdish forces fighting IS in northern Iraq but has not taken a direct combat role.

Ala urged Turkish citizens and visitors to go about their daily lives, insisting that the country had taken "all necessary security precautions." He said Turkey had detained as many as 220 IS suspects in the week prior to the attack.

De Maiziere also said: "I see no reason to refrain from travelling to Turkey" or for people already there to break off their vacations.

Top German and Turkish officials already were scheduled to meet in Berlin next week to discuss Europe's migrant crisis, in which Turkey -- which borders both Syria and the European Union -- is a key player. De Maiziere said those talks will now also address "the determined fight against terrorism."

"If the terrorists aimed to destroy or endanger the co-operation between partners, then they achieved the opposite," de Maiziere said. "Germany and Turkey are coming even closer together."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his country would not make any further immediate changes to its travel advice for Turkey but could do so as the investigation into Tuesday's Istanbul bombing progresses. The Foreign Ministry advised Germans after the attack to avoid crowds in public places and outside tourist sites in Istanbul.

The Russians were detained in the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya, a popular destination for tourists. The state-run Anadolu Agency said the suspects were allegedly in contact with IS fighters in conflict zones and had provided logistical support to the group. Ten other people were detained in Turkey's third largest city, Izmir, and in the central city of Konya.

Nearly 3,000 Russians, mostly from the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus, are believed to have gone to fight alongside IS militants in Syria. Families of IS recruits and human rights activists in the Caucasus have described Turkey as the main gateway to Syria for Russian fighters. Some IS fighters of Russian origin are believed to have left IS to settle in Turkey, families say.

The victims of Tuesday's blast came from several different parts of Germany and included two couples. Regional authorities didn't identify them but and gave ages only for some, ranging from 51 to 75.

Joerg Manthei, a spokesman for Berlin-based travel agent Lebenslust Touristik, said all 10 of the Germans who were killed had booked their trip through its agency, as well as seven of the injured.

Turkish newspapers printed words of condolence in German.

"With you in our hearts," the Haber Turk newspaper read. "Your pain is our pain" Vatan newspaper said.

Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara. Geir Moulson and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Woman, 50 facing charges in elder abuse investigation

    Canada News CTV News
    WARWICK TOWNSHIP, Ont. -- Provincial police say a 50-year-old woman is charged in an elder abuse investigation. They say officers went to a Warwick Township, Ont., home on Thursday to assist health-care workers check on the well-being of a resident. Source
  • B.C. responds to lawsuit over fees to welfare recipients for methadone treatment

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia government says it has done nothing wrong by redirecting money from the income-assistance cheques of recovering heroin addicts to pay private methadone-dispensing clinics for treatment. In documents filed in B.C. Source
  • Former Afghan warlord Hekmatyar says he wants peace

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- A former Afghan warlord who battled U.S. forces after the 2001 invasion and nursed bitter rivalries with other militant factions before signing a peace deal with the Afghan government appeared in public for the first time in more than 20 years on Saturday and called for peace. Source
  • Austria calls for new EU relationship with Turkey

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern says Turkey should not be allowed to join the European Union, with membership talks between the EU and Ankara at a standstill. Kern told reporters in Brussels Saturday that "we have to bring our relations to Turkey into new order. Source
  • Berlusconi treated with stitches after fall

    World News CTV News
    MILAN -- Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi has been treated by a doctor after tripping on a carpet and hitting his head in a fall in his villa in Portofino on the Ligurian coast. The news agency ANSA reported Saturday that the 80-year-old, three-time former premier returned to Milan for treatment at the Madonnina clinic, where he received three stitches. Source
  • Thai family mourns girl killed in video streamed on Facebook

    World News CTV News
    Chiranut Trairat, (second from left) mother of an 11-month-old baby girl, stands next to her daughter's portrait before her funeral in Phuket, Thailand, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Her distraught husband hanged their daughter on social media website Facebook Live and then killed himself, police said. Source
  • Moscow demonstrators want to tell Putin: Don't run again

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Several hundred demonstrators are gathered in a Moscow park, trying to move to the nearby presidential administration building to present letters calling on President Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term in office in 2018. Source
  • EU leaders say they stand united ahead of Brexit talks

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- European Union leaders are set to acknowledge on Saturday that Northern Ireland could join the bloc in the future if its people vote to unite with EU member state Ireland, officials said Friday. Source
  • Trump to spend Day 100 in office talking tough on trade

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump is marking his 100th day in office by talking tough on trade. Trump's first 100 days in office: Day-by-day highlights The White House says the president will sign an executive order Saturday that will direct his Commerce Department and the U.S. Source
  • EU leaders meet to set terms for Brexit negotiations

    World News CBC News
    European Union leaders will endorse a stiff set of divorce terms for Britain at a summit on Saturday, rejoicing in a rare show of unity in adversity, but well aware that may start to fray once negotiations begin. Source