Police searching for third female militant in Istanbul twin bomb attack

Police searching for third female militant in Istanbul twin bomb attack

Police searching for third female militant in Istanbul twin bomb attack

AFP photo

Istanbul police are searching for a third militant in the deadly December 2016 terror attack outside Beşiktaş football club’s Vodafone Arena. 

The militant, images of whom suggest is female, is suspected of acting together with and supervising the two militants who carried out the bomb attacks at two sites in downtown Istanbul, claiming at least 45 lives. 

Police suspect that the third militant carried out reconnaissance tours earlier in the day of the attack with the two militants who performed the acts, while also directing and coordinating the plot. 

According to information acquired by prosecutors, Kadri Kılınç, who was driving the bomb-laden vehicle, was moving according to a designated route as the three militants carried out reconnaissance from 2:56 p.m. to 8.10 p.m. During this reconnaissance, the third female militant allegedly pointed out the roads, stadium and other key spots to the other two militants.  

Prosecutors have also found that at 8.10 p.m., an hour and 20 minutes before the attacks took place, the assailants stopped the vehicle in front of a fast food restaurant on Istanbul’s Taşkışla Street and the woman militant exited the vehicle before it started advancing toward the scene. The woman allegedly walked in the opposite direction from the stadium before entering the nearby Maçka Park and then disappearing. 

The attack came as the bomb-laden vehicle ran into riot police stationed outside the Vodafone Arena following a Beşiktaş match. Some 45 seconds later, the second assailant blew himself up at Maçka Park near the stadium. 

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Meanwhile, the assailant of the Jan. 1 attack who killed 39 people in gunfire after raiding Reina nightclub by the Bosporus in Istanbul underwent a health check early on Jan. 24 under intense security. 

Police in Istanbul had late on Jan. 16 apprehended the Uzbek-origin gunman, Abdulkadir Masharipov, 16 days after the attack took place, in an apartment in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed the attack.