Turkey strikes back with airstrikes, arrests after twin bombings

Updated 10:26 AM EST, Mon December 12, 2016
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Story highlights

Airstrikes follow weekend bombings that killed 44 in Istanbul

More than 100 pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party officials arrested over alleged links to Kurdish militants

(CNN) —  

Turkish fighter jets have targeted a Kurdish militant group after twin bomb blasts that killed dozens in Istanbul over the weekend.

The Turkish army said in a written statement that, sometime around 11 p.m. local time Sunday (3 p.m. ET), the air force’s jets struck 12 different targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Zap region of northern Iraq.

The strikes were expected after the Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility for two bombings that led to the deaths of 44 people, including 37 police officers, and injured 155 others, according to Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag.

The explosions occurred after a heavily attended soccer game at Besiktas Vodafone Arena.

01:37 - Source: CNN
Turkish official: 38 killed in Istanbul bombings

The Kurdish Freedom Hawks, a breakaway group of the PKK, said in a statement on its website that the Turkish people were not the target of the attack.

After the blasts, Turkish police detained more than 100 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials over alleged links to Kurdish militants in a nationwide operation, state media outlet Anadolu reported.

Authorities took 118 HDP officials into custody on suspicion of belonging to the PKK or producing propaganda for the group, according to Anadolu.

On Monday, Anadolu reported that 26 suspects had been taken into custody accused of “conducting terrorist organization propaganda online.” Of those suspects, eight were taken into custody in Istanbul, seven in Kayseri, and 11 in Izmir, according to the agency.