The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the armed attack on Santa Maria Church in Istanbul, citing it as a response to a call from the group’s leaders to target Jews and Christians.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through a post on its Telegram channel, attributing the assault to two of its members, Reuters reported.
The assault, which took place during Sunday mass at the Catholic church in Sarıyer, resulted in the death of one person. The attackers, wearing ski masks, opened fire during the church service.
Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, in a statement made early on Monday, revealed that the police had conducted raids at 30 different locations throughout Sunday in connection with the attack. He stated that 47 individuals had been taken into custody during these operations, including the two suspected gunmen.
“We believe that these two foreign nationals, one from Tajikistan and the other from Russia, are both members of ISIS,” Yerlikaya declared.
The minister also remarked that the Turkish authorities have detained 2,086 people suspected of having links to ISIS in 1,046 operations since June 2023, remanding 529 of them in custody. Recent reports, however, have suggested that Turkey serves as a key hub for ISIS, facilitating recruitment, coordination and planning of attacks.