Turkish police have rounded up 13 suspects over triple suicide bombings at Istanbul’s international airport that killed 42 people, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Police carried out simultaneous raids at 16 different addresses in Istanbul on Tuesday night, Anadolu reported, adding that three of the suspects were foreigners.
The raids against suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) cells were launched in Istanbul and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.
Turkish authorities and US officials believe ISIL, also known as ISIS, was responsible for the gun and bomb attack on Europe’s third-busiest airport, the deadliest in a series of suicide bombings in Turkey this year.
Counter-terrorism police led by special forces officers carried out raids in several low-income neighbourhoods of Istanbul – including Pendik, Basaksehir and Sultanbeyli – Anadolu said, without citing its sources.
Nine suspected fighters, thought to have been in contact with ISIL members in Syria, were detained in dawn raids in four districts of Izmir, the news agency said.
It said they were accused of financing, recruiting and providing logistical support to the hardline group.
Ataturk airport attack
Three bombers opened fire to create panic outside Istanbul airport on Tuesday, before two of them got inside and blew themselves up. The third detonated his explosives at the entrance. At least 239 people were wounded.
Turkey is part of a US-led military coalition against ISIL and home to around 3 million refugees fleeing the five-year civil war in neighbouring Syria.
ISIL has established a self-declared caliphate in parts of both Syria and Iraq and declared war on all non-Muslims and on Muslims who do not accept its version of Islam. It has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in Belgium and France in the past year.
Al Jazeera’s Reza Sayeh, reporting from Istanbul, said the attack “does bear all the hallmarks of ISIL”, but added Turkish and international officials had not yet provided evidence “connecting the dots”.
“This kind of reaction in the past has not been able to stop attacks,” he said. “Moving forward, as far as the Turkish population is concerned, they want to see an improvement in intelligence gathering.”
Source: Al Jazeera