Istanbul attack bears ‘hallmark’ of ISIS: CIA

Obama on Wednesday also offered US security assistance to Turkey after the deadly blast at Ataturk airport

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The suicide assault on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport bears the “hallmark” of an ISIS attack, CIA Director John Brennan said Wednesday.

“The despicable attacks in Istanbul International Airport yesterday that killed dozens and injured many more certainly bears the hallmark of ISIL’s depravity,” Brennan said, using an acronym for the ISIS group.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States stood with the people of Turkey after the suicide bombing at Istanbul’s main airport.

Obama, speaking to reporters during a trip to Canada, said he discussed the US commitment to fight ISIS militants during a call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the day.

Obama on Wednesday also offered US security assistance to Turkey after the blast.

Obama telephoned Erdogan “to express his deep condolences on behalf of the American people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with the US leader to a summit in Ottawa.

“In the context of that call, he will offer any support that the Turks can benefit from as they conduct this investigation and take steps to further strengthen the security situation in their country.”

“Any information that we obtain that could be useful to the Turkish investigation, we will certainly share that information,” he added.

Earnest did not indicate whether Turkey had officially sought US assistance following the latest attack.

The United States earlier condemned as “heinous” Tuesday’s bombing and gun assault on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and pledged steadfast support for its NATO ally.

The assault, which comes at the start of Turkey’s crucial tourist season, was the latest in a wave of attacks in Istanbul and the capital Ankara blamed it on ISIS jihadists or Kurdish rebels.

Earnest, like Turkey, pointed the finger of blame at IS for the newest atrocity.

“We’ve made important progress in Iraq and in Syria against ISIL,” he said using an alternate acronym for the group.

“But we continue to be concerned by the ability that ISIL has to carry out these kind of terrorist attacks, not just in Iraq and Syria but in other places.”

Earnest said Obama would have a chance to meet with Erdogan “in some setting” when he travels to Warsaw for the upcoming NATO summit on July 8-9.

He said the attacks were certain to be raised Wednesday in Ottawa, where Obama joins Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for a so-called “Three Amigos” summit.

“This is something that will certainly be on the minds of all three North American leaders,” Earnest said.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford and Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Center for Counterterrorism, will hold a classified briefing for the US Senate on Wednesday, a senior Senate aide said.

The briefing will take place one day after three suspected ISIS suicide bombers opened fire and blew themselves up in Istanbul’s main airport, killing 41 people and wounding 239.

(With Reuters, AFP)

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