Turkey 'kills 200 Isis militants' in wave of revenge attacks for Istanbul bombing

The Turkish PM says tanks and artillery strikes have targeted Isis positions

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The Independent Online

Turkey claims to have killed nearly 200 Isis fighters in a series of retaliatory attacks after the deadly suicide bombing in Istanbul.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility in the aftermath of the bombing which killed 10 tourists, the authorities say the bomber has been identified as a Syrian man born in 1988 with known links to the so-called "Islamic State".

On Thursday, the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the military had used tanks and artillery fire to target 500 Isis positions along the border with Turkey and near a Turkish camp in Syria and Iraq.

He said close to 200 extremists were "rendered ineffective" - the phrase used by the Turkish government to mean killed - in the 48 hours since the terror attack.

He said the Turkish army had begun launching revenge strikes as soon as Isis was deemed responsible for the "heinous" bombing of one of Istanbul's main tourist attractions, though the suggestion that so many Isis fighters were killed was met with some scepticism from analysts.

"Turkey will continue to punish with even greater force any threat that is directed against Turkey or its guests," Mr Davutoglu said. "We will press ahead with our determined struggle until the Daesh (Isis) terrorist organisation leaves Turkey's borders ... and until it loses its ability to continue with its acts that soil our sacred religion, Islam."

Five people in all have been detained in connection with the Istanbul bombing, while hundreds gathered at the site of the attack on Thursday to lay flowers and hold a moment's silence.