A suicide bomber affiliated with the Islamic State killed at least 10 and injured 15 on Tuesday when he attacked a crowded tourist area in Istanbul, the Turkish government has confirmed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed today that an IS militant, a Syrian national, carried out the attack in Istanbul's popular Sultanahmet district, a heavily-visited area by tourists due to its proximity to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.
Of the 10 killed in the Tuesday morning attack, nine have been identified as German tourists. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu contacted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to give his sympathies for the German lives lost.
Other international tourists were also injured in the attack, including 59-year-old Norwegian tourist Jostein Nielsen, who is being treated after shrapnel from the explosion became lodged in his knee.
"I first heard a bang that I think is what detonated the bomb," he recalled to Norway's TV2, adding, "After that came the real bang. I felt that my knee stopped working. It was a great shock. The doctors believe that I will be able to walk again. I appreciate that."
President Erdogan said in a statement to BBC News that the city of Istanbul has been a "top target for all terrorist groups in the region."
Erdogan added that Turkey is "fighting against all of them equally."
Although IS has yet to claim responsibility for the attack, Turkish government leaders are maintaining that the man responsible has ties to the radical jihadi group.
According to CNN, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in a statement that the terrorist is not one of the thousands being tracked by the Turkish government for extremist behavior, adding that the suspect recently entered Turkey from Syria and therefore had not been vetted.
Prime Minister Davutoglu added in a public statement that such attacks will not deter Turkey's intent in defeating the terrorist organization.
"We will continue our fight against terror (with) the same firm attitude," Davutoglu said, adding that the country "will never compromise, even one single inch."
Davutoglu also called on the international community to stand in solidarity against the IS following the attack, pointing to the solidarity shown by the international community following the Paris terror attack in November that claimed 130 lives.
"We should display the same solidarity, stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in the aftermath of the Istanbul attacks as well," the prime minister said.