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Assailants in Istanbul church attack believed to be IS members: Min

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Istanbul: The two suspects arrested in the Istanbul church attack are believed to be Islamic State (IS) members, Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on Monday.

“Both suspects are foreign nationals, one from Tajikistan and the other from Russia, and we assess that they are Daesh (IS) members,” Yerlikaya told reporters in a press conference at the Istanbul Police Directorate after midnight. He said police units launched operations on 30 different addresses across Istanbul and detained 47 suspects.

“The two murder suspects were finally arrested during a raid on an address at 10:00 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) on Sunday,” he added.

The assailants attacked the Santa Maria church in the Sariyer district on the city’s European side at around 11:40 a.m. local time (0840 GMT), killing one Turkish citizen during Sunday mass.

Turkey listed IS as a terrorist group in 2013. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the country since then, prompting the Turkish authorities to launch operations against its members.

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