Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced the suspected bomber in İstanbul is a member of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
He has yet to release more information, and the Prime Ministry demanded the Radio and Television Supreme Council impose a “media ban on coverage of the explosion.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed the bomber came from Syria.
“I condemn the terror incident in İstanbul assessed to be an attack by a suicide bomber with Syrian origin,” he declared. “Unfortunately we have 10 dead including foreigners and Turkish nationals… There are also 15 wounded.”
The explosion took place in Sultanahmet Square in the Fatih district, which is a popular tourist destination. The majority killed were German citizens. Davutoğlu called Chancellor Angela Merkel “to express condolences.”
“International terrorism has shown its ugly face,” she said. “We need to act decisively against it.”
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş stated the bomber was born in Syria in 1988. However, the Doğan news agency identified the bomber as Saudi Arabian Nabil Fadli.
The incident mirrors the attack in Suruç over the summer of 2015. An Islamic State suicide bomber killed 32 people in the border town, which prompted Turkey to finally join the fight against the radical Islamic group. A Turkish cleric issued a fatwa that allows people to kill members of the Islamic State.
In October, Turkish prosecutors told reporters the Islamic State ordered two bombings in Ankara that killed over 102 people. It was the deadliest attack on Turkish soil in post-Ottoman Turkish history.
An Islamic State judge issued a death warrant for Erdoğan in September. The Shaykh Abu Khabab al-Iraqi court claimed the president is an “apostate” and must die because he works with America and helped in the “shedding of Muslim blood.” But the fatwa allows the president to repent. If he does, the Islamic State will revoke the fatwa.
“Anyone who has joined or supported this coalition, even if by a single word or action, is considered an apostate and should be killed. He [Erdogan] has no intercessor but to repent,” it said.
Kurtulmuş also said the bomber was not on Turkey’s watch list.
“This incident has once again shown that as a nation we should act as one heart, one body in the fight against terror. Turkey’s determined and principled stance in the fight against terrorism will continue to the end,” continued Erdoğan.
The German Foreign Ministry warned its nationals “to avoid crowds outside tourist attractions in İstanbul” along with public “demonstrations and gatherings.” Denmark also warned its citizens to avoid the same places in Turkey.