Two American citizens were among the victims of a terrorist attack in Istanbul Saturday, according to a statement from the White House. The suicide bombing claimed the lives of five people, including the bomber, and might have been the work of a member of the Islamic State group or Kurdish rebels.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Istanbul,” Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman, said in the statement released by the White House. “Two American citizens were among those killed in this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”
The other victims of the attack included two Israeli citizens, an Israeli official confirmed. The two were reportedly part of a group of 14 Israeli tourists on a culinary tour. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that officials were trying to determine whether the attack was targeted specifically at Israeli nationals. Earlier, Iranian officials had also said than an Iranian man was among the victims, according to the Associated Press.
The terrorist attack occurred on Istanbul’s busiest pedestrian shopping road, Istiklal Street. In addition to the five victims, the blast wounded 36 people, including 12 foreign nationals, including citizens of Germany and Ireland. The suicide bomber reportedly missed his initial target when he was deterred by police and detonated the bomb on the street "out of fear," a senior Turkish official reportedly told Reuters.
“Turkey has once again suffered a horrific terrorist attack, and we remain steadfast in our support for our NATO ally and partner,” said Price in the statement. “These repeated acts of terrorism in Turkey must come to an end. We are in close touch with Turkish authorities and reaffirm our commitment to work together with Turkey to confront the evil of terrorism.”