Turkish security forces were searching for three Islamic State operatives still on the loose with orders to strike again in Turkey, local media reported Monday.
According to a report by the Dogan news agency, Haci Ali Durmaz, Yunus Durmaz and Salas Yildiz — who was a prime suspect in Saturday’s Istanbul bombing — are using fake identities and have orders to carry out additional terror attacks.
Pictures of the suspects were run in morning papers across the country, just days after a suspected Islamic State bombing on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue left four dead — three of them Israeli — and dozens injured.
Turkey’s interior minister on Sunday identified the suicide bomber who killed four foreign tourists in Istanbul as a militant with links to IS.
Minister Efkan Ala said the bomber was Turkish citizen Mehmet Ozturk, who was born in 1992 in Gaziantep province, which borders Syria. He said Ozturk wasn’t on any list of wanted suspects and that five other people were detained as part of the investigation.
Saturday’s explosion wounded dozens of others. Among the fatalities were two American-Israelis, another Israeli and an Iranian. The attack targeted Istanbul’s pedestrian Istiklal Street, which is lined with shops and cafes in an area that also has government offices and foreign missions.
Istanbul remained tense a day after the bombing, with Turkish authorities postponing a high-profile soccer match between two major teams, citing an unspecified threat.
The Istanbul governor’s office said Sunday’s Galatasaray-Fenerbahce derby was canceled following “the assessment of serious intelligence.”
Turkey has endured six suicide bombing attacks in less than a year. The country faces a wide array of security threats including from ultra-left radicals, Kurdish rebels demanding greater autonomy who currently are locked in battle with security forces in the southeast, and IS.
Turkey is also a partner in the US-led coalition against IS, and its air bases are being used to launch bombing runs against the group in neighboring Syria.
Two of the attacks this year hit the Turkish capital, Ankara. An offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Union claimed the February 17 car bombing that killed 29 people and the March 13 suicide bombing that killed 37 people. On January 12, an attack that Turkish authorities blamed on IS claimed the lives of a dozen German tourists visiting Istanbul’s historic sites. That attack delivered a bitter blow to the country’s vital tourism sector.