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DNA: Two Turks Were Synagogue Bombers

November 19, 2003

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Istanbul’s governor said Wednesday that DNA tests have confirmed the identities of two synagogue suicide bombers as Turkish nationals.

Mesut Cabuk, 29, and Gokhan Elaltuntas, 22, carried out Saturday’s attacks outside two Istanbul synagogues, Beth Israel and Neve Shalom, that killed 23 people and wounded 300 others, Gov. Muammer Guler told a news conference.

Guler said the style of the attacks was similar to those carried out by Osama bin Laden’s terror network.

``When we look at the target and method of the actions and the connections of the people who conducted them, they are parallel with terrorist actions undertaken by al-Qaida in other parts of the world,″ Guler said.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the bombings Sunday in messages to two Arabic-language newspapers. It was not possible to authenticate those claims. An outlawed Turkish radical group called the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders’ Front (IBDA-C) also claimed responsibility, but Turkish authorities said the attack was too sophisticated to be carried out by that group.

Turkey has been chasing possible links between local Islamic groups and al-Qaida since a notebook containing instructions in Turkish on how to carry out suicide bombings was found in an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan in 2001.