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News > Turkey

Turkiye Attributes Attack on Istanbul Church to ISIS

  • Police outside a Catholic church in Istanbul, Jan. 29, 2024.

    Police outside a Catholic church in Istanbul, Jan. 29, 2024. | Photo: X/ @The_NewArab

Published 29 January 2024

During Sunday mass, two hooded attackers burst into the Sainte-Marie church and opened fire on the crowd.

On Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said that the two suspects arrested in the Istanbul church attack are believed to be members of the Islamic State (ISIS).


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"Both suspects are foreign nationals... One from Tajikistan and the other from Russia, and we assess that they are Daesh members," Yerlikaya said, adding that police units launched operations on 30 different addresses across Istanbul and detained 47 suspects.

"The two murder suspects were finally arrested during a raid on an address at 10:00 p.m. local time on Sunday," he added.

The assailants attacked the Italian church of Sainte-Marie in Istambul's Sariyer district at around 11:40 a.m. local time, killing one Turkish citizen.

"During Sunday mass, two hooded attackers with an indifferent attitude burst into the church and opened fire on the crowd," SOS Chrétiens d'Orient reported.

"After the second shot, as the faithful fell to the ground and hid between the pews, the gun jammed," it added.

At the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned the attack and expressed his closeness to the Sainte-Marie community.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also expressed his condolences and strongly condemned what happened in Istanbul.

Türkiye listed IS as a terrorist group in 2013. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the country since then, prompting the Turkish authorities to launch operations against its members.

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