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Istanbul Airport Attackers From Russia, Central Asia
International

Istanbul Airport Attackers From Russia, Central Asia

As the death toll from the Istanbul airport attack rose Thursday to 44, a senior Turkish official said the three suicide bombers who carried it out were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and Turkish police raided Istanbul neighborhoods for suspects linked to the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.
Turkish authorities say all information suggests the Tuesday night attack on Ataturk Airport, one of the world’s busiest, was the work of IS, which boasted this week of having cells in Turkey, among other countries, AP reported.
Police raided 16 locations in three neighborhoods on both the Asian and European sides of the city that sprawls across the Bosporus Strait, rounding up 13 people suspected of having links to IS.
There was no immediate claim of the attack by the militant group, which has used Turkey to establish itself in neighboring Syria and Iraq. IS has repeatedly threatened Turkey in its propaganda and the NATO member has blamed IS for several major bombings in the past year in both Ankara and Istanbul.
Across Istanbul and beyond, funerals were held for the airport victims on Thursday and heartbroken families sobbed as they bid their loved ones farewell, including several local airport workers.
A video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Haberturk purported to show a police officer asking one of the suicide bombers for identification before he was subsequently shot by the attacker.
The video shows the alleged police officer, in short sleeves, approaching a man dressed in black. The man in black then appears to shoot the officer, who falls to the ground. AP was not able to independently verify the location of the video or the sequence of events.
A Turkish senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because government regulations did not authorize him to talk to the media, said a medical team was working around the clock to identify the suicide attackers, noting that their bodies had suffered extensive damage.
Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry denied that an attacker came from that country. Asked about the possible involvement of a Russian in the attacks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had no information on that and there was no comment either from Uzbekistan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said between 5,000 and 7,000 people from Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union have joined IS in Syria and Iraq.
Unconfirmed details about the attack flooded Turkish media. The private Dogan news agency said the Russian attacker had entered the country one month ago and left his passport in a house the men had rented in Istanbul’s Fatih neighborhood.
The Karar newspaper, quoting police sources, said the attackers were part of a seven-member cell that entered Turkey on May 25. The assailants raised suspicions of airport security on the day of the attack because they wore winter jackets on a summer day, media reported.

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