Bulgaria charges 5 suspects in connection with Istanbul bombing | news

According to prosecutors, the police this week arrested three men of Moldovan origin and a man and a woman of Syrian Kurdish descent.

Bulgarian prosecutors have charged five people with supporting “terrorist attacks” in connection with an explosion in central Istanbul on November 13 that killed six, chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev said on Saturday.

Bulgarian special police forces this week arrested three men of Moldovan origin and a man and woman of Syrian Kurdish origin after investigations and close cooperation with prosecutors in neighboring Turkey, Geshev told Reuters.

“Five people have been charged. The charges are divided into two groups: for supporting terrorist attacks in another country, namely the attack in Istanbul, and for human trafficking,” Geshev said, adding that they were mainly involved in human trafficking through Turkey and smuggling.

A Bulgarian court later on Saturday ruled in a closed hearing that the four men could be remanded in custody on human trafficking charges, saying there was insufficient evidence to keep them behind bars on charges of supporting terrorist activities.

Relatives and friends of Arzu Ozsoy and her 15-year-old daughter Yagmur Ucar, who died in the attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue, attend their funeral [File: Emrah Gurel/AP Photo]

Prosecutors did not ask the court to take the woman into custody because of a health issue.

In Chisinau, the Moldovan Foreign Ministry confirmed the arrest of three citizens.

“Our country strongly condemns all terrorist attacks, including those in Istanbul,” said ministry spokesman Daniel Voda.

Turkish prosecutors have already requested the extradition of some of the alleged accomplices in the blast, Geshev added.

On Friday, a Turkish court ordered 17 suspects into custody and accused them of attempts against the unity of the state, premeditated killings and attempted killings. Among them was the suspected assassin, whom police identified as Syrian citizen Ahlam Albashir.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, which also injured more than 80 people on Istiklal Avenue, a busy and historic pedestrian street.

Turkish authorities blamed the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and affiliated Syrian Kurdish groups for the attack. The Kurdish groups have denied involvement.

The attack was the deadliest in five years and brought back grim memories of a wave of nationwide bombings between 2015 and 2017 blamed mostly on Kurdish and ISIL (ISIS) armed militants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *