Two more arrested over deadly Istanbul bombing

Two more arrested over deadly Istanbul bombing

Two more arrested over deadly Istanbul bombing

DHA Photo

Turkey has arrested two more suspects over the deadly attack on a tourist spot in Istanbul that killed 10 Germans on Jan. 12, bringing the total number of arrests to 12.

A court in Istanbul placed the suspects, who were detained in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on Jan. 16, under arrest on Jan. 20 on charges of “premeditated murder and membership in a terror group,” Agence-France Presse reported on Jan. 20.   

The arrest of the pair, whose nationalities were not disclosed, raised the number of suspects held in custody over the Jan. 12 bombing to 12, after ten others were charged on Jan. 17.   

Ten German tourists were killed and another 17 people wounded in a suicide bombing carried out by a Saudi-born Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant in the historic center of Istanbul near the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, the towering former Byzantine church that is now a museum. 

Turkish authorities identified the bomber as a 28-year-old who entered Turkey on Jan. 5 posing as an asylum seeker.

Ankara has often been criticized by its Western allies for not doing enough to combat the jihadi group, who have seized swathes of territory in neighboring Syria as well as Iraq.   

But Turkey has in recent months stepped up its fight against ISIL after several deadly attacks blamed on the group, including a double suicide bombing in October last year that killed 103 people.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 21 that seven people were arrested in the Mediterranean province of Antalya early Jan. 21 on the charge of “taking part in terrorist acts and membership of a terrorist organization.”

The seven were among a total of eight who were detained in a series of raids in Antalya and the southern provinces of Adana and Osmaniye on Jan. 20. Conducted by Antalya Police Department Counterterrorism Unit officers, the raids targeted suspects with both direct and indirect links to ISIL.

ISIL was blamed for a bomb that killed four people at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 5, 2015. An ISIL militant also killed 33 civilians on July 20, 2015, at the Amara Cultural Center in the southeastern district of Suruç. The country’s deadliest attack occurred when ISIL militants killed at least 100 people attending a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015.