Turkish police staged raids in at least two cities Thursday, detaining at least 13 suspects in connection with triple suicide bombings at an Istanbul airport that killed 42 people and raised fears of expanded Islamic State reach into Turkey.
Even as the country reeled from the violence, the assault on one of the world’s busiest airports — and a symbol of Turkey’s modern economy — threatened to propel the country into a wider war with the Islamic State.
Counterterrorism units raided 16 addresses in Istanbul and launched operations in the coastal city of Izmir, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Three of those arrested in Istanbul are foreign nationals, according to the report. Another nine suspects were detained in Izmir for providing logistical support to the Islamic State, but it was unclear if they are directly tied to the attack.
There has been no claim of responsibility for Tuesday night’s attack at Ataturk airport. But Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a televised speech late Wednesday that the government’s assertion that the Islamic State is responsible “continues to gain weight.”
Turkey’s Interior Minister Efkan Ala also said there was no conclusive evidence, but early reports suggested the Sunni extremists were behind the bloodshed.
The identities of the three attackers, who opened fire on passengers at the international terminal before detonating suicide vests, are still unknown.
“Every connection is being evaluated carefully,” the Associated Press quoted Ala as saying.