(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Three Israeli tourists, among them two dual Israeli-American citizens, were killed Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated himself on a busy shopping street in the heart of Istanbul, the fourth such attack in Turkey so far this year.
In addition to the three Israelis killed, at least 36 people were wounded, among them 11 Israelis.
The three murdered Israelis have been identified as 60-year-old Simha Dimri, Yonatan Suher, 40, and Avraham Goldman, 69. Dimri’s husband, as well as Suher’s and Goldman’s wives, were all injured in the attack.
The U.S. State Department confirmed that Suher and Goldman were American citizens. The fourth victim killed in the attack was identified by Turkish officials as Iranian national Ali Reza Razmhah.
The blast, which occurred just before 11 a.m. on Saturday, sent panicked shoppers scurrying into side alleys off Istiklal Street, a long pedestrian avenue lined with international stores and foreign consulates. Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said 24 of the wounded individuals were foreigners.
The attack will raise further questions about NATO member Turkey’s ability to protect itself against a spillover of violence from the war in neighboring Syria.
Turkey faces threats from Kurdish militants, whose insurgency has spread from the largely Kurdish southeast and whom Ankara sees as closely linked to a Kurdish militia in Syria, and from Islamic State terrorists, who have also recently targeted Turkey.
Turkish authorities have named two suspects in the attack: 33-year-old Savas Yıldız, who was among four Islamic State members currently being sought in Turkey, and 24-year-old Mehmet Ozturk who appeared on surveillance cameras in the attack.
The Israeli emergency response organization ZAKA sent a delegation of five volunteers to Turkey assist injured Israelis and to bring them home, as well as to assist other victims of the attack.
“ZAKA has extensive experience on the international level, with delegations of ZAKA attending major natural disasters and terrorist attacks around the world,” said ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said. “ZAKA has also helped Turkey previously at a major attack and returned to Israel the Israelis who were killed. We are in contact with the Jewish community in Turkey to help in any mission required.”