All Three Istanbul Bombers Identified As Foreigners By Turkish Officials

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter

Turkish authorities identified the three suicide bombers who attacked Istanbul’s main airport Tuesday as foreigners from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan Thursday, and Turkish media identified the mastermind of the attack as a Chechen national who is an Islamic State leader.

Officials did not release any further identifying information on the bombers, and said investigators were struggling to identify the men based on their remains, reports Business Insider. They said the bombers opened fire outside the international terminals arrival, creating a diversion two of them used to get inside the terminal and blow themselves up. The third attacker blew himself up outside.

Turkish media outlets identified two Chechen men believed to be behind the attack, including a terrorist named Akhmed Chatayev who trains Russian-speaking militant for ISIS and apparently planned the attack. Chatayev is on a UN sanctions list as an ISIS leader wanted by Russia.

The other Chechen identified in connection to the attack, Osman Vadinov, reportedly left the ISIS de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria and traveled to Turkey sometime in the past year. Turkish officials did not confirm either Chechen’s involvement in the attack.

The news pins the attack squarely on ISIS, which has not claimed responsibility in an apparent effort to implicate Kurdish terrorists who have conducted a string of recent attacks in the country. Turkey and ISIS both consider the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) an enemy, so a backlash from Turkey against the Kurds as a result of the attack would benefit ISIS.

Turkish police arrested at least 13 people in connection to the airport attack in the course of 16 simultaneous raids in Istanbul at dawn, officials said Thursday. Three of those detained were foreigners.

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