Apparently the three ISIS jihadists who slaughtered 43 people and injured 240 in Istanbul, are from Russia (Muslim Chechnya), Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, areas from which many ISIS fighters originate.
UK Telegraph Three suspected ISIS jihadists from the former Soviet Union have been identified as being responsible for the attack on Istanbul airport, which left 43 dead and 230 injured. One of the bombers was named by officials as Chechen Osman Vadinov, who crossed into Turkey from Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold in northern Syria, last month.
The trio were reported to have been part of a seven-person cell who entered the country on May 25. All three are understood to have Russian passports in their possession.
Sources have also revealedt that it’s feared a second cell is about to attack imminently.
There are estimated to be as many as 2,000 jihadists from Russia’s North Caucasus fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, many of whom veterans of the separatist Chechen war. They have a reputation as being some of their most fearless, battle-hardened fighters.
While ISIS is yet to claim responsibility, Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s prime minister, said evidence was growing that the extremist group was behind the attack. Investigators are carrying out DNA tests on the bombers’ remains, but if confirmed it would be the first attack on foreign targets by Chechen and central Asian jihadists on behalf of the Islamic State.
Mr Yildirim speculated whether the suspects; a Chechen from Russia, an Uzbek and a Kyrgyzstan national, carried out the triple suicide bombing in response to Turkey’s renewed relations with Russia.
The attack took place hours after the two countries agreed to mend ties, which had been strained since Ankara shot down a Russian warplane taking part in its military campaign in Syria late last year. However, terrorism experts were doubtful this was the motive, pointing instead to ISIS’ repeated threats to target Turkey and the country’s recent crackdown on militants at the border.
Police on Thursday detained 13 people, three of them foreigners, in dawn raids across Istanbul in connection with the attack, the deadliest in a series of suicide bombings in Turkey this year.
“Earlier today, the police raided 16 locations to detain 13 ISIS suspects, including three foreign nationals,” one official confirmed. The raids unfolded simultaneously in Istanbul’s working-class neighbourhoods of Konak, Bucak, Karabaglar and Bornova.
Police say they found three hunting rifles and documents relating to the Islamic State group. The suspects were reportedly in contact with ISIS militants in Syria and were engaged in “activities that were in line with the organisation’s aims and interests,” including providing financial sources, recruits and logistical support.
The three men in Wednesday night’s attack are said to have hired a first floor apartment in the district of Fatih – 12 miles from the airport – 32 days ago and signed a one year contract. An estate agent who rented the gang the property said they spoke in Russian and showed him Russian passports.
Neighbours have revealed the trio “spoke to no one” during their stay but were often heard arguing loudly. Security officials believe the three men are part of a cell who trained with ISIS in Raqqa within the last year.
Investigators combing the apartment for evidence found the men had installed a metal door on the inside of their front door.
One of the men, dressed in a red T-shirt, has been named as Osman Vadinov, a Russian national. Security officials are hunting a fourth member of the gang who is believed to be on the loose. Police found notebooks and “manuals” near to the apartment which had been dumped by the gang.
A taxi driver who picked them up told police the men were speaking Russian and were “calm and measured” and he “had no suspicions of them at all.”