Europe

Istanbul attack: Tunisian killed 'searching for IS-linked son'

An employee of a private security company patrols outside Ataturk airport's international arrivals terminal on 29 June Image copyright AFP
Image caption Doctor was reportedly at the airport to meet his wife when the attack took place

A Tunisian military doctor seeking to retrieve his son who had joined so-called Islamic State (IS) was one of the victims of the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, reports say.

Brig Gen Fathi Bayoudh was reportedly trying to secure the release of his son, who had been detained by Turkish troops on the border with Syria.

Tuesday's gun and suicide bomb attack killed more than 40 people.

No-one has so far admitted carrying out the attack, but Turkey blames IS.

Unnamed Tunisian sources told local and international media that Mr Bayoudh had been in Turkey for several weeks in an attempt to repatriate his son with the help of diplomats.

"Bayoudh travelled to Turkey in an effort to meet his son, who joined the Islamic State in Syria a few months ago with his girlfriend," a security source was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

"Bayoudh's son travelled with his girlfriend who studied with him at the Faculty of Medicine a few months ago, which prompted several attempts by his father to persuade him to return."

The head of consular affairs at Tunis' foreign ministry, Faycal Ben Mustapha, told AFP: "It was to do with their son. We don't know exactly what he did, but he went to Iraq and then Syria and ended up in detention in Turkey."

A separate source told the news agency that the doctor was at the airport to meet his wife when the attack took place.

Thousands of Tunisians have gone abroad to wage jihad, including to Syria and Iraq, the birthplace of IS.

Estimates vary between 3,000 and 6,000 of them, making Tunisians the largest number of foreign fighters to join the group's ranks, according to some researchers.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said the early signals indicate IS was responsible for Tuesday's attack in Istanbul.

The group has carried out a string of bomb attacks across Turkey recently.

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