Suspected gunmen arrested after Turkey church shooting

Two masked assailants who attacked a Catholic church in Istanbul during a mass, killing one person, have been claimed by Islamic State.

Two masked assailants who attacked a Catholic church in Istanbul during a mass, killing one person, have been claimed by Islamic State. Photo: AAP

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

Yerlikaya had earlier said the attack, which Ankara condemned, took place about 0840 GMT on Sunday at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul’s Sariyer district.

He said one Turkish citizen – who was targeted by the gunmen – was killed while attending the service.

Speaking to reporters later, Yerlikaya said authorities had carried out raids on more than 30 locations across Istanbul and detained 47 people.

The suspects were captured in one of the last raids, he said.

“Both of the suspects are foreign nationals,” Yerlikaya said, adding they would be questioned about the attack.

“One of them is from Tajikistan and the other is Russian, and we evaluated them to be with Islamic State.”

Earlier, Islamic State 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 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 afterward.

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,” Pope Francis said.

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

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

Yerlikaya said Turkish authorities had detained 2086 people suspected of ties to Islamic State during 1046 operations since June 2023.

He said 529 people had been arrested.

Topics: Turkey
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.