Turkish forces have killed nearly 200 "Islamic State" militants in Syria and Iraq, according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The shelling follows a suicide attack in central Istanbul, which killed 10 German tourists.
Turkish tanks and artillery have fired nearly 500 times on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq, killing almost 200 militants.
"After the heinous attack in Istanbul, our armed forces hit in the last 48 hours some 500 positions of Daesh in Syria and Iraq with artillery and tank fire," Davutoglu told a conference of ambassadors, using an Arabic name for IS.
"Close to 200 Daesh members including so-called regional leaders were neutralized in the last 48 hours," he added, assuring the ambassadors that "every attack that targets Turkey's guests will be punished." It was unclear how Turkey verified the number of dead or their membership in IS.
The strikes were in retaliation for asuicide bombing in Istanbul
on Tuesday, which killed 10 German tourists, the premier said. Authorities are holding IS responsible for the bombing which took place near the iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Islamic State, which normally claims its international terrorist attacks, has never taken responsibility for attacks in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said police had detained seven suspects in connection with the bombing. Ala said the figure included five previously announced arrests - four of whom were detained on Wednesday and one on Tuesday evening. He didn't give any details about the two new detentions.
Turkish security forces over the last few days also rounded up over 70 suspected IS members across the country, but it was not clear if any were directly connected to the Istanbul attack.
ng/jil (Reuters, AFP)