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Istanbul terror attack was from Manbij: Minister

The deadly terror attack on İstanbul’s İstiklal Avenue that claimed the lives of six people and wounded several dozen was from the Manbij region in northern Syria, which the government considers as major sources of the PKK/YPG, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said.

“The attack was one of the civilian massacres of the PKK that we have seen many times before,” Soylu stated at the parliament’s budget and planning commission.

The two attacks in the last two months, on İstiklal Avenue and in Mersin, were an attempt to pull Türkiye back into the grip of global instability as the election of the century approaches, Soylu said, referring to the attack with long-barrelled weapons on the police station in the southern province.

“Both attacks were from Manbij,” he said.

Underlining that the ministry is fighting against “a terrorist structure with intense foreign support,” Soylu stated that “they never compromised on the principles of the constitution, law, democracy, human rights and the state” while continuing this struggle.

Meanwhile, 17 suspects linked to the attack were arrested by a court order early on Nov. 18, including Syrian national Ahlam Albashir, the woman who confessed to planting the bomb.

Earlier, 49 suspects who were transferred to the courthouse after completing procedures at the police station were questioned by 29 public prosecutors at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutor’s office later deported 29 suspects.

The suspects are accused of “destroying the unity and integrity of the state,” “deliberate killing,” “deliberately attempting to kill” and “deliberately aiding murder.”

According to the examination of the records and the statements of the detainees, Albashir made reconnaissance on İstiklal Avenue on three separate days with a pirate taxi driven by a man named Bilal Hassan and a member of the organization with whom she had come from Syria with before the attack, daily Hürriyet said earlier.

Pretending to be a couple, the duo got a job in a textile workshop in Esenler, it added.

Albashir also said she got the action order from another PKK/YPG terrorist code-named Hacı.

The PKK/YPG member, who works in the “intelligence unit” of the organization in the Manbij region in northern Syria, illegally crossed into Türkiye via Afrin and Idlib, after staying in Manbij for two months, according to the daily.

Albashir also admitted that one of those who assisted in the attack was another PKK member, code-named Hüsam. He was determined to have fled after the attack and was caught in Azez during an operation by the Turkish security units, bringing the number of detainees to 51.

The intelligence unit of the police found the license plate of the taxi Albashir got into after the attack and determined the route of the activist and the point where he got off.

Taking the statement of the taxi driver, the police looked as hundreds of security camera footage at the point where he left the terrorist. Police then found the license plate of another PKK/YPG terrorist Ahmed Jarkas’ vehicle, who has provided logistical support to Albashir after that point. Jarkas left Albashir at home and left.

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