Turkish security forces in Istanbul. (AP/Emrah Gurel) (AP/Emrah Gurel)
Turkey police
Istanbul bombing

Site of the Istanbul suicide bombing. (Ismail Coskun, IHA via AP)

Counter to initial assessments, an ISIS terrorist who killed 3 Israelis and wounded several others may have been specifically targeting Israelis. Turkey has launched a manhunt for three of his accomplices.    

Several Turkish media outlets reported Monday that contrary to initial assessments by Turkish authorities, a group of Israeli tourists were in fact the specific target of a suicide bombing on Istanbul’s busy Istiklal Street on Saturday.

Three Israelis were killed in several were wounded in the suicide bombing on Saturday, which occurred on a long pedestrian avenue lined with stores and foreign consulates. An Iranian man was also killed.

According the latest Turkish reports, the terrorist, whose identity has since been confirmed, had waited outside the restaurant where the group of Israelis had dined on Saturday morning, detonating himself moments after they exited the establishment.

Turkey’s Haberturk newspaper reported that police were examining closed-circuit TV footage from the scene, which appeared to corroborate the report that the suicide bomber had followed the group of Israeli tourists for several miles from their hotel and then waited outside the restaurant where they ate breakfast.

The report, which also appeared on the Turkish T24 website, suggested that the suicide bomber recognized the Israelis were speaking Hebrew and decided to target them for that reason. Authorities believe that the interrogations of family members and associates of the suicide bomber, identified as Islamic State (ISIS) member Mehmet Ozturk, will yield clearer answers as to the motive and target of the attack.

Turkish police hunt for 3 ISIS Terrorists

In related news, Turkey’s state-run news agency says police are searching for three suspected ISIS terrorists who are allegedly planning to carry out a “sensational” act in the country that has already been rocked by six suicide bombings since the summer.

The Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed security sources, said Monday that the three — identified as Haci Ali Durmaz, Yunus Durmaz and Savas Yildiz — are members of a local cell linked to the Islamic State group and that all provincial police departments have been urged to capture them.

Authorities on Sunday postponed a soccer game between Istanbul rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce over an unspecified terror threat.

By: JNS.org and AP