ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jan. 13 (UPI) — Turkey has arrested nine people, including three Russians, suspected of being Islamic State members following a suicide bomb attack in Istanbul that killed 10.
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala confirmed that one person was arrested late Tuesday in connection to the attack, The New York Times reported. No further details were given and it is not clear if the arrest confirmed by Ala is one of the nine detentions reported earlier.
Most of the people killed in Tuesday’s attack were German tourists. The suspected IS bomber, who is believed to have recently arrived in Turkey from Syria, detonated in the capital’s Sultanahmet district, a historic and popular tourist destination.
Police conducted raids in Antalya and in İzmir, which led to the arrests. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but Turkish officials place blame on the Islamic State — also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reached out to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to offer condolences — also vowing to continue the Turkish fight against the militant Islamist group. At least 15 people were injured in the explosion.
Russia’s Consulate General in Antalya confirmed the arrest of Russians.
“We confirm the detention of three Russian citizens,” Consul-General Alexander Tolstopyatenko said, adding that “the reason for their detention is being determined.”
Turkey has faced increased violence in recent months generated by the Islamic State and after a ceasefire broke down between the Turkish government and PKK Kurdish rebel militants — which led to airstrikes by Turkey and bombings by rebels.
The United States condemned the attack Tuesday.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed, and wish a quick and full recovery to those injured,” said Bureau of Public Affairs spokesman John Kirby. “The United States reaffirms our strong commitment to work with Turkey, a NATO Ally and valued member of the Counter-ISIL Coalition, to combat the shared threat of terrorism.”
“We reaffirm our support for these negotiations and for Djibouti’s commitment to strengthening inclusive governance and development,” he continued.