Suspect in Istanbul blast says received orders via US phone numbers
The woman suspected of carrying out the November terrorist attack in Turkey's Istanbul confesses that WhatsApp applications were downloaded to her phone via two US phone numbers.
The woman suspected of organizing the November terrorist attack in Turkey's Istanbul said she received the orders via a messenger connected to her mobile device via two US phone lines, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Wednesday, citing the detainee's testimony.
The female suspect, Ahlam Albashir, said as quoted by the newspaper that one of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK, which is banned in Turkey), codenamed Haji and stationed in Syria's Manbij, ordered her to move to Idlib, then to Turkey, and wait for instructions to execute the operation.
She also stated that the WhatsApp applications were downloaded to her phone via two US phone numbers and that on November 13 she received a phone call from Haji, who instructed her to place a bag containing the explosive device on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul's center and leave immediately, according to the report.
On November 13, a strong explosion was heard in a busy area in the heart of Istanbul. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the explosion in Istanbul left six people dead and 53 injured.
Watch | An explosion on a busy pedestrian street in central #Istanbul's #Taksim area left multiple people dead, wounded and others running from the scene. pic.twitter.com/qBPXf4ZmE6— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) November 13, 2022
A day after the blast, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu stated that the suspect who planted an explosive device in Istanbul has been arrested.
Istiklal Street was hit during a 2015-2016 attack campaign targeting Istanbul and other cities, including Ankara. These bombings, which killed nearly 500 people and injured over 2,000, were mostly blamed on ISIS and outlawed Kurdish militants.
Istiklal Street in Istanbul's ancient district of Beyoglu is one of the city's most well-known thoroughfares.