CV NEWS FEED // The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a deadly shooting which took place at a Catholic Church in Istanbul during morning Mass on Sunday.
According to reports, one man was killed after two gunmen entered Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday morning and opened fire in the middle of the Consecration.
In a statement accompanied by photographs of the two assailants published on the extremist group’s media platform, Amaaq, the Islamic State said it “attacked a gathering of Christian unbelievers during their polytheistic ceremony.”
The extremist group, along with several other news outlets, have claimed that the attack also left several others injured, but Turkish authorities have contested this fact.
Security footage of the events which transpired at around 11:40 am show two men wearing black balaclavas entering the Church. According to Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, the two men were arrested late last night and identified as Islamic State operatives from Russia and Tajikistan.
Yerlikaya also said in his statement that police raided over 30 locations and detained 47 people in connection with the attack.
“We will never tolerate those who try to disturb the peace of our country—terrorists, their collaborators, national and international criminal groups and those who target our unity and solidarity,” said Yerlikaya.
The victim, a man identified as Tuncer Cihan, was “a mentally disabled man who had no ties to politics or criminal organizations,” according to his nephew, Cagin Cihan. “He was invited to the celebration and was a victim of fate,” he added
The attack on Sunday marks the first time Islamic State has targeted a place of worship, according to reports.
Previous attacks carried out by the group include a 2015 bombing in Ankara that killed 109, and 2017 shooting which took place at a nightclub in Istanbul and killed 39.