Turkish official 'tweets she hopes Israeli tourists are dead' in Istanbul terror attack

The suicide bombing killed three Israeli tourists and injured 11 more - it is not known if they were deliberately targeted

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The Independent Online

A Turkish official has reportedly been sacked over a tweet in which she appears to have wished almost a dozen Israeli tourists wounded in a bomb attack in Istanbul “were dead”.

The attack on Saturday saw five people killed, including the bomber himself, three Israelis and an Iranian, while 11 other Israeli nationals were among 36 injured in total.

Shortly after details emerged of the victims of the attack, a tweet was posted by the account of Irem Aktas, a board member in the women’s branch of the ruling AK Party for the Istanbul district of Eyup, which read: “I wish that the wounded Israeli tourists were dead.”

The tweet sparked outrage among both Turks and Israelis on social media, and appears to have prompted an angry personal intervention from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Mr Netanyahu had ordered his foreign ministry to demand an official condemnation and apology from the Turkish government.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told the Post if it was legitimate, the tweet was a “shocking and ugly statement”.

Ms Aktas’s account appears to have been deleted in the wake of the post, and according to the Times of Israel she has since been fired from the AK Party.

On Sunday, Turkey’s interior minister confirmed reports the bomber had been identified as Turkish-born Isis militant Mehmet Ozturk, who had no previous criminal record and was born in 1992 in Gaziantep province, which borders Syria.

The attack targeted Istanbul's pedestrian Istiklal Street, which is linked with shops and cafes in an area that also has government offices and foreign missions.

It was not immediately clear if the Israelis were specifically targeted, the Associated Press reported. The Israelis' bodies and other Israelis wounded in the blast were being evacuated while a senior Israeli foreign ministry official to arrive in Istanbul for meetings with Turkish officials.