Bulgaria arrests 5 alleged accomplices of Istanbul attackers

Bulgaria has taken into custody five foreign nationals who allegedly were accomplices of the perpetrators of the November 13 bomb blast in Istanbul, the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on November 19.

In the November 13 blast, in a shopping street in the Taksim Square area, six people died and more than 80 were injured.

Angel Kunev of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office told reporters that pre-trial proceedings had been initiated.

Those arrested have been charged with acting as an organised crime group involved in people trafficking and for assisting in terrorism.

Four are in 72-hour custody and prosecutors will ask the Sofia City Court to remand them in custody pending the outcome of a trial. Kunev said that a lighter measure would be imposed on the fifth, a woman with serious health problems.

Still being sought is a person subject to an international arrest warrant issued at the request of Türkiye.

The investigation is continuing, Kunev said.

Media reports on November 19 said that of those arrested, three were citizens of Moldova – one also holding a Bulgarian passport – while the other two, a man and a woman, were “of Arab origin”.

Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Siika Mileva told Bulgarian National Radio that those arrested had provided logistical assistance after the attack, to get a perpetrator out of Türkiye.

Türkiye has arrested a number of people in connection with the attack, which it has accused the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of being responsible for. The PKK has rejected this allegation, saying that it does not directly target civilians.

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