Two IS suspects held at Istanbul airport after bombing and gun attack
Published 04/07/2016 | 13:01
Two suspected Islamic State operatives are reported to have been detained at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, the scene of last week's deadly triple suicide bombing and gun attack.
The private Dogan news agency said on Monday that the two suspects come from the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, identifying them by their initials FMI and KV. They were detained on Sunday.
According to the report, Turkish police found military camouflage outfits and thermal binoculars, in addition to two passports issued under different names in their suitcases. The report did not specify if the pair were leaving or arriving in Turkey.
Three militants armed with assault rifles and suicide bombs stormed Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on June 28. At least 44 people were killed and 230 others injured.
No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish officials say they believe it was the work of the Islamic State group.
IS, which has used the porous border with Turkey to establish itself in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, has repeatedly threatened Turkey. In turn, Turkey has blamed IS for several major bombings in the past year in Ankara and Istanbul.
In total, 29 suspects have been detained in connection with the attack, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. It said 16 individuals suspected of involvement in the airport attack, including 11 foreigners, were sent to the Istanbul court of Bakirkoy on Monday after undergoing medical checks.
There has been speculation that Akhmed Chatayev, a Chechen extremist known to be a top lieutenant in the IS militant group, may have masterminded the attack, but Turkish officials have not confirmed his involvement. One official said the bombers were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
According to the Anadolu agency, prosecutors have established the identity of two of the three airport attackers - giving their names as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov - and are trying to identify the third. Other media reports have given different versions of Osmanov's name.