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Suspected ISIL militant identified as perpetrator of Taksim attack

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Turkish authorities have identified the perpetrator of a suicide bombing that rocked İstanbul’s busy Taksim neighborhood on Saturday as 24-year-old Mehmet Öztürk who is a suspected militant of the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The identity of the terrorist who carried out the atrocious attack in İstanbul has been found out. It is Mehmet Öztürk who was born in 1992 and registered to Gaziantep [province]. Preliminary findings show him to be linked with Daesh [another acronym used for ISIL] terrorist organization,” said Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala in a statement on Sunday.

On Saturday, a DNA sample was taken from Öztürk’s father, Nahsen, and forensic experts found out on Sunday that the DNA sample taken from the father matched with the DNA sample taken from the attacker.

The minister also said the attacker had no search warrant on him neither in the police nor in the gendarmerie, adding that the country is investigating the possible masterminds behind the attack.

Five people have been detained so far in connection with the attack, added the minister.

The Doğan News Agency reported on Sunday that Öztürk’s father, a factory worker in Gaziantep, and brother whose name was not revealed were detained by police teams who raided their houses on Sunday morning.

The father in his testimony to the police said his son left home in 2013 for İstanbul and they met on rare occasions since then. Öztürk reportedly went to Syria to join ISIL ranks and then returned to İstanbul to carry out Saturday’s attack.

Police found out that Öztürk’s family had filed a missing report about him.

As part of a US-led coalition, Turkey is battling the ISIL, which has seized territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

ISIL has carried out at least four bomb attacks on Turkey since June 2015, including a suicide bombing which killed 10 German tourists in central İstanbul in January.

In a related development, Turkey’s Health Ministry announced on Sunday that the treatment of 15 people who were injured in Saturday’s attack is still ongoing and four of the injured are in critical condition.

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