Turkish authorities identify suicide bombers; death toll 44

Islamic Extremism

A relative of Habibullah Sefer, one of the victims killed Tuesday at the blasts in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, weeps next to his coffin, during the funeral in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The three suicide bombers who attacked Istanbul airport were a Russian, an Uzbek and a Kyrgyz, a senior Turkish official said Thursday, hours after police carried out sweeping raids across the city looking for Islamic State suspects. Tuesday’s gunfire and suicide bombing attack at Ataturk Airport killed 43 people and wounded more than 230 others.

CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports from Ataturk Airport

The day opened with police conducting raids on 16 locations in Istanbul, rounding up 13 people suspected of having links to the Islamic State group, the most likely perpetrator of the attack at one of the world’s busiest airports. The manhunt spanned three neighborhoods on the city’s Asian and European sides.

Turkey’s Ambassador to the US on the need for solidarity

Turkey\'s Ambassador to the US Serdar Kılıç on airport attack

Turkey\'s Ambassador to the US Serdar Kılıç on airport attack

CCTV America's Elmira Jafari interviewed the Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kılıç on the importance of solidarity after the recent terrorist attack in Istanbul.
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The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, did not name the attackers.

“A medical team is working around the clock to conclude the identification process,” the official told journalists, noting that extensive soft-tissue damage had complicated efforts to identify the attackers. The official could not confirm Turkish media reports that the Russian national was from the restive Daghestan region.

From the start, Turkish authorities have said all information suggests the attack was the work of IS, which this week boasted to have cells in Turkey, among other countries.

Ataturk Airport observes a prayer for victims of attack

There was no immediate claim of responsibility by the militant group, which used Turkey as a crossing point to establish itself in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The group has repeatedly threatened Turkey in its propaganda publications.

A memorial service was held for the victims of Tuesday’s gunfire and suicide bombing attack at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. Mourners prayed and laid flowers at the framed photographs of some of the victims.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a man who was wounded in the triple suicide attack at Istanbul’s airport has died of his wounds, raising the death toll to at least 44. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said 19 foreign nationals were killed in the attack. Of those who were wounded, 94 remained in hospital, the Istanbul Governor’s office reported.

Moment of silence held for victims of Ataturk Airport attack

Unconfirmed details of the attack continued to emerge on Turkish media.

The private Dogan news agency said the Russian attacker had entered the country one month ago and left his passport in a house the men had rented in the neighborhood of Fatih.

Family members, colleagues and friends of the victims of Tuesday blasts gather for a memorial ceremony at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Family members, colleagues and friends of the victims of Tuesday blasts gather for a memorial ceremony at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The Karsi newspaper, quoting police sources, said the trio was part of a seven-person cell who entered Turkey on May 25. The assailants raised the suspicion of airport security on the day of the attack because they showed up in winter jackets on a summer day, several media reported.

The Dogan news agency broadcast footage of the Istanbul police raids. It showed a special forces police team entering a building carrying what appeared to be a steel shield to protect from possible counterattack during the raid.

Family members of Erol Eskisoy and Ali Zulfikar Yorulmaz, two taxi drivers killed in Tuesday blasts, mourn during a memorial ceremony at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016. A senior Turkish official on Thursday identified the Istanbul airport attackers as a Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz national hours after police carried out sweeping raids across the city looking for Islamic State suspects. Tuesday's gunfire and suicide bombing attack at Ataturk Airport killed dozens and injured over 200. Turkish authorities have banned distribution of images relating to the Ataturk airport attack within Turkey.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Family members of Erol Eskisoy and Ali Zulfikar Yorulmaz, two taxi drivers killed in Tuesday blasts, mourn during a memorial ceremony at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

In separate large-scale police operations, nine suspects believed to be linked to the IS group were also detained in the coastal city of Izmir. It was not clear if the suspects had any links to the carnage at the airport.

The Izmir raids unfolded simultaneously in the neighborhoods of Konak, Bucak, Karabaglar and Bornova, according to Anadolu Agency. Police seized three hunting rifles and documents relating to IS.

The report said the suspects were in contact with IS militants in Syria and were engaged in “activities that were in line with the organization’s aims and interests,” including providing financial sources, recruits and logistical support.

Colleagues leave carnations for Erol Eskisoy and Ali Zulfukar Yorulmaz, two taxi drivers killed in Tuesday's blasts at the entrance of Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016. A senior Turkish official on Thursday identified the Istanbul airport attackers as a Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz national hours after police carried out sweeping raids across the city looking for Islamic State suspects. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Colleagues leave carnations for Erol Eskisoy and Ali Zulfukar Yorulmaz, two taxi drivers killed in Tuesday’s blasts at the entrance of Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Days before the Istanbul attack, on June 25, security forces killed two suspected Islamic State militants who were trying to cross the border illegally and ignored orders from security forces to stop, according to local media reports.

One of the two militants was wanted by Turkey on suspicion that he would carry out suicide attacks in the capital Ankara or in the southern city of Adana, Anadolu said.

Turkey shares long, porous borders with both Syria and Iraq, where IS controls large pockets of territory. The government has blamed IS for several major bombings over the past year, including in the capital Ankara, and on tourists in Istanbul.

Members of the Texas Rangers stand at attention while observing a moment of silence for victims of the Istanbul airport attacks before the start of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in New York, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Members of the Texas Rangers stand at attention while observing a moment of silence for victims of the Istanbul airport attacks before the start of a baseball game against the New York Yankees in New York, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Funerals and memorial services were held for some of the victims. Four members of one family have been confirmed as being among the Saudi nationals killed in the airport attack.

Saudi authorities identified them as Kerime, Meryem, Zehra and Huda Amiri.

With coffins wrapped in flags, prayers were said for the members of the Amiri family and a Turkish citizen, Habibullah Sefer in Istanbul on Thursday.

Victims of the assault at Istanbul’s main airport have left behind mourning friends and relatives struggling to deal with their loss.

A memorial service was held at the Ataturk Airport taxi stand for taxi drivers Erol Eskisoy and Ali Zulfikar Yorulmaz, who also died in the attack.

The Texas Rangers observed a moment of silence for the victims of the attack on Wednesday. However the Union of European Football Associations told the Associated Press that they will not hold a moment of silence at any of the Euro 2016 quarterfinals currently underway because they are not “related directly” to football.

Story by the Associated Press