| People put flowers on a monument in memory of the victims of the bomb blasts at the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues in Istanbul. (AFP)
Istanbul, Nov. 17 (Reuters): A suicide bomber was caught on film an instant before devastating synagogue blasts in Istanbul, Turkish authorities said today and the owner of a vehicle used in the attacks was in custody.
Financial markets from Tokyo to New York dipped after claims that Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida network carried out what Turkey said was an attack masterminded abroad. Turkish shares also ended down, but debt prices and the lira currency held steady.
An Arabic newspaper said a unit of al Qaida had claimed responsibility and pledged more strikes against Western states, specifically the US and its allies Britain, Italy, Australia and Japan. Interior minister Abdulkadir Aksu said Saturday’s attacks on two Istanbul synagogues, which killed 24 people and wounded 300, were the work of a “foreign source”.
“There is no organisation in Turkey that could have carried this out by itself,” he told the Vatan newspaper. Aksu said one of the bombers, at the Neve Shalom synagogue, could be discerned in his vehicle on security film shot before the blast. “But it’s not clear. We’re trying to clarify and make an identification,” he said.
Asked if there was anyone else in the vehicles and whether these were suicide bombings, Aksu said: “Yes, yes, these were definitely (suicide attacks) ... They were both alone.” Istanbul governor Muammer Guler said investigations into the blasts were advancing and “important clues” had been uncovered. “Don’t worry. Our police will overcome this,” Guler said.
Each vehicle in the blasts was packed with 400 kg of explosives and two corpses were found with wires attached to them suggesting they might be suicide bombers.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said after chairing a lengthy cabinet meeting on the crisis that pieces of skin believed to belong to the suicide bombers had been recovered and sent for DNA tests to help identify the culprits.
Aksu said the bombs, made of ammonium sulphate, nitrate and petrol, all easily available, were mixed in plastic containers.
“The bombs were made in Turkey,” Aksu said.