(CP) The Islamic State claimed a Sunday terrorist assault towards a Roman Catholic church in Istanbul, Turkey, that killed a mentally disabled Muslim man.
The terrorist group admitted via its media arm to attacking “a gathering of Christian unbelievers throughout their polytheistic ceremony” on the Santa Maria Church in Istanbul’s Buyukdere neighbourhood, in accordance with The Associated Press.
Footage obtained by Reuters reveals the second masked gunmen opened hearth through the church’s Sunday Mass.
Police arrested two males early on Monday, one among whom is Russian and the opposite from Tajikistan, in accordance with Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya. The arrests adopted police raids at greater than 30 places, throughout which 51 suspects had been detained, AP reported.
“Both of the suspects are international nationals,” Yerlikaya mentioned. “One of them is from Tajikistan and the opposite is Russian, and we evaluated them to be with the Islamic State.”
Yerlikaya additionally mentioned Sunday in a post on X that he and the Turkish authorities “strongly condemn this vile assault.”
Tuncer Cihan, 52, who was shot and killed through the assault, was “an individual who had carried out nothing fallacious,” in accordance with the church’s lawyer, Avsin Hatipoglu, who spoke to the AP. He mentioned the church is reportedly requesting elevated safety within the neighborhood.
The lawyer added that Cihan was not even a Christian however Alevi, a sect of Shia Islam. Cihan’s nephew recognized him and famous that he was mentally disabled, in accordance with The New York Post. Yerlikaya additionally confirmed the identification of the sufferer.
Sukru Genc, the mayor of Sariyer District, informed a neighborhood information outlet that Cihan was standing close to the doorway to the church when the assault occurred, according to CNN.
“According to the priest, he was continually going to church, and the priest knew this individual and referred to him as ‘a superb individual,'” Genc mentioned.
“Such provocations won’t ever be allowed in our nation,” Akif Cagatay Kilic, one among Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s prime political advisers, wrote in a statement posted to X on Sunday. “The perpetrators can be caught as quickly as potential and held accountable earlier than justice.”
Bishop Massimiliano Palinuro, who serves because the apostolic vicar of Istanbul, told EWTN News that Cihan was murdered “through the consecration whereas all of the congregation was praying.”
“We are nervous in regards to the future as a result of if this can be a signal of the spiritual intolerance, for our group, it may very well be a foul signal. Let us pray,” Palinuro mentioned.
In response to information of the arrests, Palinuro mentioned, “We belief within the justice of God.”
The Turkish bishops’ convention condemned the assault in a Sunday assertion, urging folks to hope and to keep away from “[spreading] the tradition of hatred and non secular discrimination,” in accordance with Catholic News Agency.
“We firmly condemn this act of violence towards humanity,” the assertion mentioned, which was signed by Archbishop Martin Kmetec of Izmir.
“We belief that the Turkish state safety forces will discover these accountable and that justice can be carried out,” he mentioned. “We firmly demand that the reality be revealed and that higher safety be assured to our communities and church buildings.”
Pope Francis wrote on X: “I categorical my closeness to the group of the Church of St. Mary Draperis in Istanbul, which suffered an armed assault throughout Mass that killed one individual and injured a number of others.”
Approximately 25,000 Roman Catholics stay in Turkey as of 2022, in accordance with the U.S. State Department.
Yerlikaya claimed Turkey has detained 2,086 folks with suspected ties to the Islamic State and arrested 529 since final June, in accordance with Reuters.
Twenty-five folks suspected of getting ties to the Islamic State had been arrested in Turkey on Jan. 3 amid allegations that they had been planning to assault church buildings and synagogues, in accordance with the Turkish information outlet Anadolu Agency.