As the death toll from the Istanbul airport attack rose Thursday to 44, a senior Turkish official said the three suicide bombers who carried it out were from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and police raided neighborhoods for suspects linked to the Islamic State group. Turkish authorities have said all information suggested the Tuesday night attack on Ataturk Airport, one of the world's busiest, was the work of IS, which boasted this week of having cells in Turkey, among other countries. The police raided 16 locations in three neighborhoods on both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, rounding up 13 people suspected of having links to the Islamic State group, the AP reports. There was no immediate claim of responsibility by the militant group, which has used Turkey as a crossing point to establish itself in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
A senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because government regulations did not authorize him to talk to the media, said the attackers were from Russia and the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. He could not confirm media reports that the Russian was from the restive Dagestan region in the Caucasus mountains. A medical team was working around the clock to identify the attackers, the official said, noting their bodies had suffered extensive damage. Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry denied that an attacker came from that country, saying its representatives had talked to Turkish officials who said the identities were still to be determined. Asked about the possible involvement of a Russian in the attacks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had no information on the issue. There was no comment from Uzbekistan.