INTERNATIONAL

Prime suspect in Istanbul bomb attack detained: Turkish authorities

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Istanbul: Turkish authorities have detained dozens of suspects, including the prime suspect who is believed to have planted the bomb that killed six people and injured 81 on Istanbul’s famous Istiklal Avenue. 

The prime suspect, identified as 23-year-old Syrian national Ahlam Albashir, said she had taken orders from the PKK/YPG terrorist organisation’s headquarters in Ayn al Arab in northern Syria, the Istanbul General Security Directorate said in a statement on Monday. 

The suspect admitted during interrogation that she entered Türkiye illegally from Syria’s Afrin, police said. She also said she was trained by the PYD/YPG in Syria. 

A total of 46 suspects were detained after police carried out operations at 21 addresses after inspecting footage from 1,200 security cameras, police said in a statement released on Twitter. 

“If we had not caught the perpetrators [of the bomb attack in Istanbul], they would have fled to Greece today,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a separate statement.

Footage released

Istanbul police teams identified the female suspect based on her physical appearance, determined via images caught on security cameras near the site of the explosion on the busy pedestrian street.

The suspect, whose escape route was also determined, was later detained in an overnight raid by anti-terror forces at a hideout in the district of Kucukcekmece, located west of the attack site.

The images of the suspect’s capture, recorded during the raid on the suspect’s hideout, were also shared by police forces.

Local media broadcast footage depicting the main suspect being detained at a house where she was hiding. The woman, wearing a purple hoodie and black pants, is seen lying face down on a carpet, being handcuffed from behind.

Police searching the house also seized large amounts of cash, gold items and a gun, according to the footage.

The international community has condemned the explosion on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street that left at least six people dead and 81 injured.

The blast occurred around 4:20 pm local time (1320 GMT) in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district on Sunday.

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