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Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Sunday Church Shooting in Istanbul

Police cordoned off an area outside the Santa Maria church in Istanbul on Sunday. Shutterstock
Police cordoned off an area outside the Santa Maria church in Istanbul on Sunday. Shutterstock

Announcing on Telegram that two individuals, “attacked a gathering of Christian unbelievers during their polytheistic ceremony,” the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a Sunday shooting at a Catholic church in Istanbul. The incursion was the first time that the terror organization targeted a Turkish place of worship.

One individual, who was not a parishioner, was reported to have been killed in the incident.

In response to the deadly event, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya told reporters that law enforcement officials raided 30 locations in the search for suspects. Two individuals, from Tajikistan and Russia, were taken into custody for suspicion of being the gunmen.

Members of the Salafi movement are known to attack adherents of religions not aligned with their interpretation of Sunni Islam. Past targets have also included infrastructure and gathering locations for disapproved communities.

In December, The Islamic State affirmed that their operatives were culpable in a bombing against another Catholic congregation in the Philippines. Four people were killed and 45 suffered injuries when jihadists detonated a 60 mm mortar round during services.

Related Story: Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Philippines

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