The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a recognized terrorist organization, has claimed responsibility for the armed attack at Saint Mary Church in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul. The attack occurred during Sunday mass on January 28th, when two individuals wearing ski masks entered the church and opened fire. Tuncer Cihan, a member of the congregation, was tragically killed in the incident.
ISIS’s news agency, Amaq, released a statement in Arabic, indicating that the attack was a response to the ISIS leaders’ call to target Jews and Christians globally. This claim was further circulated by ISIS’s Turkish media outlet, Meydan Medya.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya informed the public via social media that the two suspects involved in the Santa Maria Church attack had been apprehended. He praised the swift action of the Istanbul Police in capturing the perpetrators.
In a later press conference, Yerlikaya disclosed that the attackers were of foreign nationality and are believed to be affiliated with ISIS. The Minister detailed that after extensive police operations, involving raids on 30 addresses and the detention of 47 individuals, the suspects were captured. He specified that the suspects are Tajikistani and Russian, with suspected affiliations to ISIS.