Istanbul bombings : The Pak Connection

  • Istanbul’s Governor Muammer Guler said Wednesday that DNA tests have confirmed the identities of the two synagogue suicide bombers as Turkish nationals.

    Police said the suspects were members of a little-known group identified as Beyyiat el-Imam, whose name means “Allegiance to the Imam” in Arabic, Hurriyet said. Police did not confirm that report.

    The organization was formed in the al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and is reportedly led by a Saudi cleric identified as Abu Musab. He is believed to have crossed into Iran since the Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan.

    Ekinci reportedly had affiliations with a variety of Islamic groups, including Hezbollah — a violent Turkish Sunni group, unrelated to the Shiite Lebanese group of the same name. He traveled to Iran, received military and explosive training in Pakistan between 1997-99 and fought in Chechnya, daily Milliyet said. Ugurlu also spent time in Pakistan, Hurriyet said.

    Police did not confirm the reports. Police found a Pakistani passport in pieces at the crime scene after Saturday’s attacks but could not determine its owner. The Turkish Daily News

  • The TDN also reported that three of the four Turkish Islamic militants who were involved in the bombings had received training in Pakistan and Iran while the background of the fourth man was still not clear although he was also believed to have travelled abroad.The Hindustan Times
  • Investigators could not immediately determine the identity of the bearer of the Pakistani passport because the identification number was largely illegible, an Istanbul police officer said. It also was not clear whether the passport was linked to the bombing. The bearer appeared to have entered Turkey illegally, the official said. NJ Star Ledger.

  • Update: Shyam Bhatia reports that the Istanbul bombers mentioned Kashmir.