The suspected suicide bomber from today’s attack in Istanbul was reportedly arrested twice before by Turkish authorities for alleged allegiance to the Islamic State and was on a terror watch list.
Turkish officials tell Reuters that the bomber likely tried to detonate the explosives in a more crowded location. Unnamed officials told an Israeli reporter that Israelis were unlikely to have been the intended target.
“The attacker detonated the bomb before reaching the targeted point because they were scared of the police,” the official said, declining to be named because the investigation is ongoing.
Savas Yildiz reportedly flew to Syria in May of last year, following suspected involvement in a string of attacks in Turkey, and returned to the country in October.
Turkish security put out a dragnet for Yildiz in October, believing he and three other IS operatives entered Turkey from Syria in order to carry out terror attacks, the Turkish Daily Sabah paper reported at the time.
Turkish authorities identified him by a body part found at the scene, a local reporter said.
— Aylina Kılıç (@AylinaKilic) March 19, 2016