Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, says the men who carried out Saturday's
attacks against two Istanbul synagogues were likely Turkish nationals who sympathized
with the al-Qaida terror network.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Foreign Minister Gul said it is
too early to determine whether the four suspects in the bombings were actual
members of al-Qaida, or merely sympathizers. Mr. Gul said investigations show
they had what he termed the same mindset as al-Qaida. Mr. Gul told the AP results
of DNA tests carried out on relatives of the four suspects would provide confirmation
of their involvement.
Turkish media on Tuesday widely reported that the four men implicated in
the synagogue bombings had received training in Iran and Pakistan. A Turkish
prosecutor has since ordered a black-out on all news relating to the investigation.
At least 25 people were killed and more than 300 were injured when suicide bombers
driving explosives-laden pickup trucks pulled up nearly simultaneously in front
of two synagogues in central Istanbul during worship services Saturday morning.
Thousands of mourners - Muslims and Jews - gathered at Istanbul's Ulus cemetery
Tuesday as six members of the Jewish community who died in the attacks were
laid to rest. Prominent Turkish politicians, Western diplomats and Israel's
parliament speaker, Reuven Rivlin, were present at the funeral. Mr. Rivlin
said Turkish officials told him that Turkish terrorists educated in Afghanistan
and trained in Iran had carried out the attack.
On Sunday, the London-based Al Quds-Al Arabi newspaper said it had
received a statement from a group linked to al-Qaida claiming responsibility
for the Istanbul blasts. The group, called the Brigades of the Martyr Abu Hafz
al-Masri, also claimed responsibility for the August attack on the U.N. offices
in Baghdad, which killed 23 people. The group said it targeted the Istanbul
synagogues because they were frequented by Israeli intelligence agents.