ISTANBUL: The remains of 10 Germans killed in a suicide attack in the Turkish city of Istanbul were flown home on Saturday, an AFP photographer said.
The bodies of those killed in Tuesday’s attack, which has been blamed on the Islamic State group, were put on a plane at Ataturk International Airport to be flown back to Germany for burial.
Another 17 people, mostly German tourists, were wounded in the attack in the historic heart of Istanbul, near the famed Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, a towering former Byzantine church that was turned into a mosque before later becoming a museum.
Seven suspects have been detained in connection with the attacks, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said on Thursday.
Turkish authorities have identified the Istanbul suicide bomber as a 28-year-old Syrian who entered Turkey on January 5 posing as a migrant fleeing the country’s civil war.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the man was a member of Islamic State.
Ankara has often been criticised by its Western allies for not doing enough to combat Islamic State extremists who have seized swathes of territory across the border in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey is currently hosting around 2.2 million refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria. Davutoglu warned against seeing all migrants as potential extremists, which he said would be playing into the hands of the “terrorists”.
Turkey was hit by three attacks blamed on Islamic State in 2015, including a double suicide bombing in October in Ankara that killed 103 people, the country’s worst-ever attack.
All those attacks targeted pro-Kurdish groups, who are vehemently opposed to Islamic State.
The attack on the German tourists, however, was the first time that foreign visitors have been targeted in Istanbul.