In a horrifying incident, two masked gunmen attack Catholic churchin Istanbulduring Sundayservice, resulting in the tragic death of one person.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya confirmed the details, stating that authorities are actively working to capture the assailants.
A comprehensive investigation was launched on the matter and work has been started to capture the attackers.- Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya
The assault occurred around 0840 GMT at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Churchin the Sariyer district. The gunmen specifically targeted the victim, a Turkish national who was attending the service.
Istanbul Governor Davut Gul reported that the attackers fired solely at one person, leaving no other casualties.
The motive behind the attack remains unclear, and authorities are conducting a comprehensive investigation. Footage from the site depicts a significant police presence, indicating the severity of the incident.
President Tayyip Erdogan expressed condolences to the church's priest, a local administrator, and Poland's consul general in Istanbul. PopeFrancis conveyed his condolences, addressing the attack during his weekly Angelus prayer.
I express my closeness to the community of Saint Mary Draperis Church in Istanbul that suffered an armed attack during mass that caused one death.- Pope Francis
An Italian Franciscan friar order is in charge of the church. Italy's Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, condemned the vile act and expressed confidence in the Turkish authorities' ability to bring the perpetrators to justice.
I express my condolence and firm condemnation for the vile attack on Santa Maria Church. I am certain that the Turkish authorities will arrest those responsible.- Italy's Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani
Pepole react during a deadly attack by two masked gunmen at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul, Turkey January 28, 2024.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu offered condolences and reassurance to religious minorities in the city. Pope Francis, speaking to the public in St. Peter's Square, acknowledged the tragedy, expressing solidarity with the affected community.
There are no minorities in this city or this country. We are all actual citizens.- Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu
The victim, identified as Tuncer Cihan, was characterized as a mentally disabled individual with no political or criminal affiliations. Cagin Cihan, the victim's nephew, emphasized that his uncle was an innocent attendee, tragically caught in the crossfire.
He was a mentally disabled individual who had no connection to politics or (criminal) organizations. He went there on an invitation and was a victim of fate.- Cagin Cihan, the victim's nephew
The Santa Maria Church in Istanbul now grapples with the aftermath of this unprecedented tragedy.
The international community awaits the outcome of the ongoing investigation and hopes for swift justice against those responsible for this senseless act of violence.
The attack on Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul during Sunday service has left a community in shock and mourning. As authorities actively pursue the assailants, international leaders, including Pope Francis, have expressed condolences and solidarity.
The tragedy underscores the need for unity and resilience in the face of violence, as the community and the world await justice for the victim and answers regarding the motives behind this heinous act.