Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the masked suspects to be found within 24 hours
Turkish officials confirmed that masked gunmen shot and killed a person during a Mass at a Catholic church in Istanbul on Sunday.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said that Sunday's attack on the Italian Catholic Church of Santa Maria in the Sariyer district in the northeastern section of the European side of Istanbul occurred shortly before noon local time.
Yerlikaya added that the person who was shot appeared to have been deliberately targeted by the killers, whose identities were hidden with masks. He added that a comprehensive investigation has been opened in this regard and work has begun to arrest the attackers. Yerlikaya wrote on social media on Sunday.
Istanbul Governor Davut Gul said that the victim was a Turkish citizen, and there were no other injuries related to the accident, according to Reuters.
The agency added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his regret over the incident in phone calls with the church priest, a local official from the ruling Justice and Development Party he leads, and the Consul General of Poland in Istanbul.
Erdogan said the killers would be found “within 24 hours” and that “Necessary steps” It was taken to locate the suspects.
Pope Francis also offered his condolences after the weekly Angelus prayer from the Vatican on Sunday. “I express my closeness to the Church of St. Mary Drapres in Istanbul, which was subjected to an armed attack during Mass, which led to the death of one person.” The Pope said, referring to the church by its English address.
CCTV obtained by Turkish media shows the attack in graphic detail. The footage shows two gunmen entering the church, apparently following a man dressed in black before shooting and fatally wounding him. The two attackers then quietly left the church.
The victim's uncle, whose identity has not yet been officially confirmed, said the 52-year-old intended to become a Christian but had not yet been baptized. Turkey is a majority Muslim country – it is estimated that only 0.2% of the population is Christian or of other recognized religions such as Judaism.
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