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Isis suspects who attacked church in Turkey arrested

ISLAMIC STATE (Isis) claimed responsibility today for an attack on a Roman Catholic church in the Turkish city of Istanbul that left one person dead.

The jihadist death cult said in a statement that it had “attacked a gathering of Christian unbelievers during their polytheistic ceremony” inside the Santa Maria church in the city’s Buyukdere district.

The man killed was a 52-year-old Turkish citizen who was out taking a walk at the time when he went into the church, where Sunday Mass was being held.

Two men, one from Tajikistan and the other from Russia, have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack, according to Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.

He said police had raided 30 locations and detained suspects with alleged links to the shooting.

“We will never tolerate those who try to disrupt the peace of our country — terrorists, their collaborators, both national and international criminal groups and those who aim at our unity and solidarity,” Mr Yerlikaya said.

The DHA news agency reported that 51 people had been detained during the police raids, including 23 who were sent to holding centres awaiting deportation.

Turkey is known for using sporadic terror attacks as a pretext to crack down on and detain leftwingers and other opposition activists.

Earlier this month, 25 suspected Isis members were arrested across the country and accused of plotting attacks on churches and synagogues, according to state-run news agency Anadolu Ajansi.

Isis has not previously targeted places of worship in Turkey, but the terrorist network has carried out a string of deadly attacks in the country, including a shooting at an Istanbul nightclub in 2017 that killed 39 people and a 2015 bomb attack at a peace rally in Ankara that claimed 109 lives.

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