Istanbul suicide bomber was Daesh terrorist, says Turkish government

By Naomi Firsht, March 20, 2016
The scene in Istanbul after the attack

The scene in Istanbul after the attack

A Turkish terrorist working for Daesh was responsible for the suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed at least four people, according to Turkey’s interior minister.

Three Israelis were among the dead and 11 among the 36 people injured in the attack on a busy shopping street on Saturday.

On Sunday Turkey’s interior minister Efkan Ala identified the bomber as a man born in the southern province of Gaziantep, adding that five people had been detained so far in connection with the bombing.

"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," Mr Ala told a news conference broadcast live on television, reported news agency Reuters.

Senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official Dore Gold has cut short his US visit to go to Turkey in the aftermath of the attack.

Mr Gold had been in the US for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) conference.

According to Turkish media he will visit wounded Israelis in hospital in Istanbul and meet Turkish officials.

A travel warning has been issued from Israel’s counter-terrorism bureau urging Israelis not to travel to Turkey.

Saturday’s attack follows a wave of bombings in Turkey, including a car bombing earlier this month in the capital Ankara which killed 37 people and injured 125.

The warning was raised from Level 4, an ongoing potential threat, to Level 2, a basic concrete threat.

"For fear of more attacks, we recommend Israelis to avoid visiting Turkey," said the statement from Israel's counter-terrorism bureau in the Prime Minister's Office.

The Israeli victims of the fatal blast have been identified as Simcha Damari, Jonathan Shor and Avraham Goldman.

The fourth victim of the attack was an Iranian national identified as Ali Reza Razmhah.

Last updated: 10:06am, March 21 2016