New details are emerging about Monday’s suicide bombing in southeastern Turkey, including the allegation that the Turkish government had intelligence warning about the attack. The explosion took place in the town of Suruc, which is across the border from the Syrian town of Kobani. Both towns are major centers for the region’s Kurdish minority.
The bombing killed dozens of people, mostly youth workers who were on their way to help rebuild Kobani after a destructive occupation by ISIS militants.
According to Hurriyet Daily, a Turkish newspaper, the government was aware of the threat of violence from ISIS. Specifically, intelligence suggested seven ISIS militants crossed into the country illegally and were plotting terror strikes.
According to the report, Turkish police initiated raids based on that intelligence and detained 97 people but were unable to prevent the attack.
Reports conflict as to who the culprit was who set off the bomb. Some news agencies are reporting the suicide bomber was a woman, while others say that the bomber was a male in his 20s.
Although no terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, most reports agree that ISIS is responsible.
“Initial findings point to a suicide bomber and Daesh [the Arabic name for ISIS],” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
Should that speculation prove true, it would be the first time ISIS fighters suicide bombed targets within Turkey.
“What is necessary will be done against whomever responsible for [the attack],” Davutoglu said. “This is an attack that targeted Turkey.”
“Conflicts abroad should not be allowed to spread into Turkey,” he also said.
In response to the crisis, the Turkish government has increased security measures and threat levels at the Syrian border.
Nonetheless, the Turkish people were outraged at the whole situation and protested in the streets of major urban centers.
In Istanbul, protesters marched with signs that read “Islamic State will lose, our people will win.” They also had signs that blamed the attack on incompetence in the government.
Some even chanted slogans alleging that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AKP Party collaborated with ISIS.
In response to the protests, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.
Historically, Erdogan and the AKP have been identified with Islamism, albeit not in the same vein as the extremely radical ideology that ISIS fights for.