Istanbul bomber known to authorities, says Turkey

Istanbul bomber known to authorities, says Turkey
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala confirmed that the man responsible for Tuesday’s suicide attack in Istanbul - killing ten German tourists - was known to authorities.
2 min read
13 January, 2016
A suicide bomber targeted European holidaymakers in Istanbul's tourist district [AFP]

Turkey has confirmed that they are aware of the man responsibile for Tuesday's suicide attack in Istanbul was known to Turkish authorities. 

"His fingerprints were taken and there is a record of him," said Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala. 

"But he was not on the wanted individuals list. And neither is he on the target individuals list sent to us by other countries."

Ten Germans were killed in the bombing, which targeted a a crowded square in the heart of Istanbul's tourist district. Five more tourists are in intensive care following the blast.

Tomas De Maiziere, minister of interior, said there were no indication that Germans were the deliberate targets.

He said he he saw no reason why people should change their travel plans to Turkey.

"According to the investigations so far, there are no indications that the attack was directed specifically against Germans, so there can't be any connection to our contribution to the fight against international terrorism," de Maiziere told AP.

Meanwhile, Turkish police arrested three Russians for suspected links to the Islamic State group, along with 65 other suspects, state news has reported.

Russian officials in Ankara have confirmed the arrests, The New Arab's Arabic correspondent in Turkey has confirmed.

They are said to have been arrested for providing "logistical support" to the terror group.

The raids took place across the country and come in the wake of a suicide bombing in central Istanbul, which left at least ten German tourists dead.

Ankara also arrested one person in connection with the attack.

Turkey ordered a temporary news blackout on Tuesday following the attack.

Raids took place in the capital Ankara, cities in the south and east, along with a town close to Syrian border, Anadolu news agency said.

Authorities said 16 people were detained for a planned terror attack in the Turkish capital.

A further 21 people were detained in Sanliurfa for preparing another attack in Turkey, it added.

Three Russian suspects were also arrested in the southern resort city of Antalya for alleged links to IS, on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday a suicide bomber targeted a group of mostly German tourists in Sultanahmet Square, central Istanbul.

Ankara said the attack was carried out by a 28-year-old Syrian man with links to IS.

Turkey has been accused supporting or turning a blind eye to IS fighters crossing the Turkish border by several states - notably its rival Russia.

Turkish police have launched a wave of arrests against the extremist group in recent months, following a series of deadly attacks attributed to the group.

Ankara is also waging a brutal war against Kurdish separatists in the south and east of the country.