Turkish forces have killed 200 Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has announced.
The retaliation responds to a suicide bomb attack that killed 10 German travelers in Istanbul this week.
Fifteen people were hurt in the bombing, including Germans. The New York Times newspaper reports citizens of Norway, Peru and South Korea were also wounded.
Davutoglu said Turkish forces attacked numerous Islamic State terrorist group targets along its border with Syria and near a Turkish camp in northern Iraq. They used artillery and tanks in the attacks, which were carried out within the past two days.
He said if necessary, Turkey would also launch air attacks against the group. And he said Turkish forces will pressure the Islamist fighters until they leave the border areas. However, Turkey’s war planes have not flown in Syrian air space since late November, when a Turkish pilot shot down a Russian fighter jet.
Separately, Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said seven people have been arrested for taking part in the planning of the attack.
He said three of them are Russian citizens.
The attack happened in Sultanahmet Square, a popular tourist area.
Turkish officials say the attack was carried out by a 28-year-old Syrian member of the Islamic State terrorist group. They said Nabil Fadli had recently entered Turkey from Syria as a refugee, but he was not on any Turkish lists of suspected terrorists.
The interior minister said 36,000 people from 124 countries are banned from entering Turkey.
Over the past few days, Turkish forces have detained more than 70 people suspected of being members of the Islamic State terrorist group. It is not known if any of them are linked to the suicide bombing in Istanbul.
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
Words in This Story
retaliate – v. to do something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly; to get revenge against someone
respond – v. to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done
tourist – n.a person who travels to a place for pleasure