A new CCTV footage has emerged that shows the moment a Syrian woman who is believed to be behind the deadly bomb attack on a busy street in Istanbul fleeing the scene on Sunday afternoon after carrying out the attack. The woman has been identified as Ahlam Albashir, who is from Syria, and was arrested from a house in Istanbul where she was hiding after the attack.
Police also shared the video of the moment cops raid a house in Istanbul and arrest Albashir along with a large cache of guns, ammunition and gold. The deadly explosion at Istikal Avenue, a bustling street in the Turkish capital, on Sunday afternoon killed at least six people and left 53 injured.
Arrested in Hours
It took a few hours for the Turkish police to locate, identify and arrest the suspect who allegedly planted a bomb in the popular shopping street of Istiklal Avenue on Sunday shortly after 4 pm local time. On Monday, police shared footage that shows officers arresting the Syrian woman Ahlam Albashir at a house where she was allegedly hiding.
According to the local newspaper Aksam, CCTV footage appears to show the suspect fleeing the explosion's scene as the arrest is being made. The video footage which has gone viral on social media appears to show the suspect, minutes after the attack, running through a group of perplexed bystanders who were looking behind them at the aftermath of the bombing.
Albashir is seen wearing what looks to be a hijab and is the only person looking forwards. She has admitted to being trained by Kurdish terrorists in Syria and entering Turkey through the Afrin region of northwest Syria in initial questioning, according to Istanbul police.
Albashir is one of 46 people who have been detained by police since the incident and is thought to have planted a bag containing the bomb on a park bench.
Even before Albashir was arrested, Turkey accused the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara sees as terrorists, of carrying out the explosion. Albashir later admitted to police that she had trained with the Kurdish militants.
Bekir Bozdag, Turkey's justice minister, had earlier told the pro-government radio station A Haber that a woman who was waiting on a bench near the explosion site for roughly 40 minutes was being investigated. The explosion happened only a few minutes after she left, raising the possibility that a suicide bomber was not behind the act.
"A woman had been sitting on one of the benches for more than 40 minutes and then she got up. 'One or two minutes later, an explosion occurred," Bozdag said.
"There are two possibilities," he said. "There's either a mechanism and it explodes, or someone remotely explodes (it). All data on this woman are currently under scrutiny," he added.
Ecrin, a nine-year-old girl, and her father, Yusuf Medyan, were among those confirmed dead in Sunday's deadly attack. There were 81 others who were injured in the bomb blast. Among those dead were also in the incident were a 15-year-old girl and her mother.
According to Sky News, Medyan was employed by Turkey's ministry of family and social services. Derya Yanik, the department's minister, declared: "I curse this treacherous attack that killed a father and his daughter."
"As the state, we stand by the families of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives and with our wounded people with all our means. No evil focus will be able to disrupt our unity and solidarity."
Shocking videos posted online captured the horrifying moment a fireball exploded on the street amid a loud explosion and as onlookers turned and ran away in terror. Other horrifying videos showed victims and a pushchair that was empty lying on the ground right after the explosion, before forensic teams cordoned off the area.
The area was crowded with people when the explosion happened at around 4:20 pm local time on Istiklal Avenue, which is popular with both locals and visitors and is lined with shops and restaurants.
It is believed that the number of casualties would rise overnight. Two individuals died from their injuries at the hospital, while four people perished at the site.