TUNIS,: A Tunisian killed in the Istanbul airport attack blamed on the Islamic State group was in Turkey to secure the release of his son detained for joining militants, diplomats said Wednesday.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim quickly pointed the finger at IS over Tuesday’s attack, which killed at least 41 people and wounded 239, although no group has claimed responsibility.
One of the dead was a Tunisian identified as Fathi Bayoudh, a doctor who had reportedly been in Turkey for several weeks in an attempt to repatriate his son.
Bayoudh’s son was accused of having joined IS in Syria, a foreign ministry source was quoted as saying by Tunisia’s private Mosaique FM radio station.
After months of travelling back and forth between Tunisia and Turkey, Bayoudh had finally managed to persuade his son to return home with him, an anonymous government source told AFP.
A defence ministry source in Tunis said Bayoudh was at Ataturk Airport to meet his wife when the triple suicide attack struck.
The head of consular affairs at Tunis’ foreign ministry, Faycal Ben Mustapha, told AFP the Tunisian consulate in Istanbul had been in contact “with the Bayoudh family since December”.
“It was to do with their son. We don’t know exactly what he did, but he went to Iraq and then Syria and ended up in detention in Turkey,” he said.
A defence ministry spokesperson confirmed a Tunisian who was in Turkey on private business had been killed in Tuesday’s attack.
The Islamic State group has carried out a string of bomb attacks across Turkey since last year.
Tunisia has also been the victim of attacks claimed by IS, and it is thought that thousands of Tunisians have travelled to join militant organisations in Syria, Iraq, and neighbouring Libya.