Turkey captures two gunmen linked to ISIS after deadly church attack in Istanbul

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

Turkish authorities have captured two gunmen who shot one person dead on Sunday during a service at a church in Istanbul and who are believed to be tied to ISIS, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said.

Yerlikaya had earlier said that the attack, which Ankara condemned, took place around 0840 GMT at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul’s Sariyer district, and that one Turkish citizen - who was targeted by the gunmen - was killed while attending the service.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Speaking to reporters later, Yerlikaya said authorities had carried out raids on more than 30 locations across Istanbul and detained 47 people until now. The suspects were captured in one of the last raids, he said.

“Both of the suspects are foreign nationals. One of them is from Tajikistan and the other is Russian, and we evaluated them to be with Islamic State,” Yerlikaya said, adding they would be questioned about the attack.

Earlier, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Telegram, saying it was in response to a call by the group’s leaders to target Jews and Christians.

CCTV footage from inside of the church, verified by Reuters, showed the masked gunmen entering the building and shooting the man who was walking in front of them. The CCTV footage shows the men leaving almost immediately afterwards.

People react during a deadly attack by two masked gunmen at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul, Turkey January 28, 2024. (Reuters)
People react during a deadly attack by two masked gunmen at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul, Turkey January 28, 2024. (Reuters)

President Tayyip Erdogan called the church’s priest to offer his condolences and support, his office said, publishing a video of the call.

Pope Francis conveyed his condolences over the attack after his weekly Angelus prayer.

“I express my closeness to the community of Saint Mary Draperis Church in Istanbul that suffered an armed attack during mass that caused one death,” he said.

Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni said on X that Italy’s foreign ministry was following updates on the “despicable act” and condemned it.

ISIS has conducted numerous attacks across Turkey, including on a nightclub in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2017, in which 39 people were killed.

Yerlikaya said Turkish authorities had detained 2,086 people suspected of ties to ISIS during 1,046 operations since June 2023, and that 529 people had been arrested.

Read more: Assailants launch armed attack on Italian church in Istanbul, one dead

Top Content Trending