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  13 detained over Istanbul airport attack

13 detained over Istanbul airport attack

AFP/REUTERS/AP
Published : Jul 1, 2016, 7:14 am IST
Updated : Jul 1, 2016, 7:14 am IST

A child leans on the coffin of his uncle, suicide attack victim Hamidullah Safar, in Istanbul during his funeral on Thursday, two days after a suicide bombing and gun attack targeted Istanbul's airport. (Photo: AFP)

A child leans on the coffin of his uncle, suicide attack victim Hamidullah Safar, in Istanbul during his funeral on Thursday, two days after a suicide bombing and gun attack targeted Istanbul's airport. (Photo: AFP)

Turkey on Thursday detained 13 suspected ISIS jihadists over the deadly Istanbul airport attack, as chilling details emerged of how suicide bombers launched their assault.

The death toll from Tuesday’s gun and suicide bomb spree at Ataturk airport has risen to 44, state-run news agency Anadolu said, with more than 200 people injured.

Nineteen foreigners are among the dead, the interior minister said. Authorities have identified the bombers as a Russian, an Uzbek and a Kyrgyz national.

The official gave no further details beyond confirming the attackers’ nationalities and declined to be named because details of the investigation have not yet been released. Forensics teams had been struggling to identify the bombers from their limited remains, officials said earlier.

“A medical team is working around the clock to conclude the identification process,” one of the officials said.

The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said the Russian bomber was from Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and religious militants since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper named him as Osman Vadinov and said he had come from Raqqa, the heart of ISIS-controlled territory in Syria. The Russian interior ministry said it was checking information about Vadin-ov.

A spokesman for Kyrgyzstan’s state security service said it was investigating, while the Uzbek security service had no immediate comment.

The revelation that one of the attackers was a Russian national comes at an awkward time for relations between Ankara and Moscow, strained since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border last November. Turkey has been plunged into mourning over the carnage at Ataturk airport, the deadliest of several attacks to strike Turkey’s biggest city in 2016.

The police carried out more than a dozen raids across Istanbul early Thursday, arresting 13 people including four foreigners, interior minister Efkan Ala said.

Broadcaster CNN Turk said they were accused of providing logistical support for the bombings. Counter-terrorism teams led by police special forces launched simultaneous raids at 16 locations in the city, two officials said.

Yeni Safak said the organiser of the attack was suspected to be a man called Akhmed Chatayev, of Chechen origin. Chatayev is identified on a United Nations sanctions list as a leader in Islamic State responsible for training Russian-speaking militants, and as wanted by Russian authorities.

Turkish officials did not confirm to Reuters that Chatayev was part of the investigation.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul