Prime Minister says ISIS was only "a pawn ... a subcontractor" in this attack
Suspected suicide bomber had not been considered a security risk, official says
All 10 of those killed were German, officials say
It was a strike at the heart of Turkey’s culture and its multibillion-dollar tourist industry.
The suicide bombing on Sultanahmet Square on Tuesday killed 10 people – all of them Germans, the German Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday.
It was the deadliest attack on Germans abroad in more than 13 years. And Turkey’s Prime Minister promised a determined effort to repel the threat.
“We will continue our fight against terrorism with the same resolve and will never take a step back,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, according to Turkey’s semiofficial news site, Anadolu Agency.
But he added that Istanbul had “become a city of hope today in the rings of fire in the region, to the people of the Middle East, Balkans and Caucasus.”
As if to underscore the government’s resolve, Turkey detained 68 suspected terrorists in sweeps across seven provinces, Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday.
That included three Russians who were staying at a house in Antalya, according to an account also reported by Russia’s state-run Sputnik news.
Another 21 people held in Sanliurfa were “preparing for attacks in Turkey,” according to Anadolu Agency. And 16 people – 15 of them Syrian – were detained in Ankara for allegedly starting to scout out buildings there.
One of those caught in the security sweep is being held in connection with the Istanbul blast, according to Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
“The examination and investigation continues in multiple ways and in a very serious manner,” Ala said.