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Turkey makes further arrests after deadly Istanbul blast

Relatives and friends of Arzu Ozsoy and her 15-year-old daughter Yagmur Ucar, who died in Sunday's explosion occurred on Istiklal avenue, attend their funeral in Istanbul, Turkey, November 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Relatives and friends of Arzu Ozsoy and her 15-year-old daughter Yagmur Ucar, who died in Sunday's explosion occurred on Istiklal avenue, attend their funeral in Istanbul, Turkey, November 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkish police have apprehended more suspects in connection with the bombing of a bustling pedestrian avenue in Istanbul that killed six people and wounded several dozen others, bringing the number of people in custody to 50, Turkey’s justice minister says.

Sunday’s explosion targeted Istiklal Avenue — a popular thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants — and was a stark reminder of bombings in Turkish cities between 2015 and 2017 that crushed the public’s sense of security.

Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it. The Kurdish militants groups have, however, denied involvement.

Police carried out raids in Istanbul several hours after the blast and detained 48 people, including a Syrian woman who is suspected of leaving a TNT-laden bomb at Istiklal. Police say the woman, identified as Ahlam Albashir, had crossed into Turkey from Syria illegally and has admitted to carrying out the attack.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag now says the number of suspects in custody has increased to 50, but doesn’t provide details. The state-run Anadolu Agency says police on Tuesday detained two brothers, identified as Ammar J. and Ahmed J.

Ammar J. was allegedly tasked with helping Albashir flee Istanbul to neighboring Greece after the attack, while Ahmed J. allegedly drove a suspect who is still at large, to Edirne province, near the border with Bulgaria, Anadolu reports.

“Turkey continues with its fight against terrorism with determination,” the independent T24 news website quotes the minister as saying. “No terrorist organization will succeed in any kind of plot against Turkey.”

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