Istanbul Bomber Tailed Israeli Tourists From Hotel to Scene of Attack, Turkish Media Report

Turkey's Haberturk newspaper says footage suggests the bomber followed the Israelis before detonating; Turkey hunts three more would-be bombers.

Three suspected ISIS militants.
Turkish police

The suicide bomber behind an attack in Istanbul on Saturday followed a group of Israeli tourists from their hotel before detonating himself and killing four others, according to reports on Turkish media.

Turkey's Haberturk newspaper said police had been examining CCTV footage and that it appeared the suicide bomber had followed the group of Israeli tourists for several kilometres from their hotel, then waiting outside the restaurant where they ate breakfast before blowing himself up as they emerged.

Two days after the suspected ISIS militant killed three Israelis and an Iranian in Istanbul, at least half a dozen Turkish newspapers from across the political spectrum carried head-and-shoulders pictures of three suspected ISIS members. The reports said the suspects had been given instructions to carry out further attacks in crowded areas, primarily in Istanbul.

"All provincial police units have taken action to try to capture the three terrorists suspected of being ISIS members planning sensational attacks," the state-run Anadolu news agency said, citing unnamed security sources and describing them as part of an "active cell" in Turkey.

Israeli soldiers and medics load the bodies of three Israeli into a military plane at Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul, Sunday, March 20, 2016.
AP

Sunday's attack on Istiklal Street, a long pedestrian avenue lined with international stores and foreign consulates, was the fourth suicide bombing in Turkey this year. Two in Istanbul have been blamed on ISIS, while the two others in the capital Ankara have been claimed by Kurdish militants.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala on Sunday identified the Istanbul bomber as a man born in 1992 and from the southern province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border, adding that five people had been detained so far in connection with the blast.

Israel has confirmed that three of its citizens died in the blast. Two of them held dual citizenship with the United States. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the death of the Israelis shortly after the attack and said that Israel was investigating whether the attacker had deliberately targeted the group of Israelis.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a condolence letter to his Israeli counterpart on Sunday in which he expressed sorrow over the three Israelis killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those wounded.