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07 julio, 2016

After the Istanbul Bombing, and More

hen ISIS fighters killed a hundred and thirty people in Paris, in November, the group’s leaders in Syria took credit for the attack the next morning. When ISIS zealots murdered thirty-two in Brussels, in March, the group claimed responsibility the same day. After the attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando, ISIS’s leaders took credit for both, even though they appeared to play little or no role in helping to plan or carry them out. So here we are, more than twenty-four hours after three suicide bombers killed at least forty-one people at Atatürk International Airport, and no one has stepped forward—neither ISIS nor anyone else. Why not? Shortly after the attack, Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım, said that ISIS was the main suspect. But he didn’t offer any evidence to buttress his claim, and he hasn’t said anything since. John Brennan, the head of the C.I.A., told Yahoo News that he thought that ISIS was probably the culprit—but, like Yıldırım, he showed no proof. So who did it? It’s not inconceivable that the attack was carried out by someone other than ISIS—namely, the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which has been leading an armed struggle against the Turkish state for decades. The war with the P.K.K. has flared up over the past two years, and the Turkish military has carried out several strikes against both the P.K.K. and the group’s affiliates in northeastern Syria, where they have set up a quasi-independent state. Kurdish militants have carried out suicide attacks before, though, as a rule, the P.K.K. has never targeted foreigners, who would have been present at an international airport. Events will probably prove Brennan and Yıldırım to be correct, that ISIS is to blame for the attacks in Istanbul. There’s certainly circumstantial evidence. The attack, which was carried out by three men wearing suicide vests, is consistent with previous ISIS attacks. June 29th marks the second anniversary of the group’s declaration of a new caliphate in the territory it had conquered in Syria and Iraq. Under relentless Western bombardment, as well as pressure from Shiite militias and the Iraqi military—Iraqi forces expelled ISIS from the center of Fallujah this week—ISIS’s leaders are no doubt desperate to remind the world that they are still a potent force. By Dexter Filkins , June 29, 2016 Travellers flee Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport after early Wednesday’s suicide-bomb attack.

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