Turkey Makes Arrest Over Istanbul Suicide Bombing

ISTANBUL — One person has been arrested in connection with a suicide bombing that rocked the heart of Istanbul’s central tourist district, Turkish officials announced on Wednesday, as German officials confirmed that 10 German tourists had been killed in the attack.

The Turkish interior minister, Efkan Ala, announced the arrest, but he provided no details about the suspect.

The suicide bomber, who died in the attack on Tuesday morning, was identified on Wednesday as Nabil Fadil, a Syrian citizen and Islamic State operative who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1988. Mr. Fadil entered Turkey from Syria on Jan. 5 and registered as a refugee at an immigration office in Istanbul, government officials said. Mr. Fadil was not on a government list of terrorism suspects, they said.

The German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, who spoke at a joint news conference here with Mr. Ala, said there were “no indications that the attack was specifically directed against Germans,” who account for one in six foreign tourists in Turkey.

After the news conference, the German Foreign Office said that 10 German tourists had been killed. It was not clear if there were additional deaths; Mr. Ala said that efforts to identify the bodies were still underway.

In Germany, the news agency DPA reported that the 10 victims came from Berlin and at least four German states.

The 10 victims were a married couple, ages 59 and 61, from the city of Mainz, and a 73-year-old man from the town of Bad Kreuznach (whose wife was seriously wounded), both in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate; another couple, 71 and 73, from the town of Falkensee, west of Berlin; a 67-year-old man from the northern part of the state of Hesse, whose 50-year-old wife was wounded; a 70-year-old woman from Leipzig, and two men, 51 and 75, from Dresden, both cities in the state of Saxony; and a 72-year-old man from Berlin. None have been identified by name.

The 10 tourists killed were all part of a group organized by a Berlin-based tour operator. Seven other members of the group were injured, Jörg Manthei, a spokesman for Lebenslust Touristik, the travel agency, told DPA.

Citizens of Norway, Peru and South Korea were also among the wounded. On Tuesday night, the Peruvian Foreign Ministry said that initial news accounts that a Peruvian man had been killed in the attack were inaccurate; he was wounded, it said.

Turkey, which has been criticized by its Western allies for not doing enough to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS, has arrested dozens of people in recent days in antiterrorism raids. So far, Turkey has detained 3,318 people over links to the Islamic State, Mr. Ala said on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear how many have been prosecuted, released or deported.

“It was an attack against humanity,” Mr. de Maizière said. “I came here today in order to show that the entire population of Germany, together with the people of Turkey, condemn this attack, and we mourn together.”

He added that he did not see why travel plans to Turkey should be interrupted or canceled. “If the terrorists were aiming to disrupt the cooperation between partners, destroying or endangering them, then they have achieved the opposite,” he said. “Germany and Turkey will move together even more closely.”

Until now, the Islamic State had limited its targets in Turkey to Kurdish and leftist nationalist groups that it linked to its enemies across the border in Syria. It carried out two major suicide attacks last year, including one in the capital, Ankara, in October that killed more than 100 people.

But the bombing on Tuesday, in the historic Istanbul district of Sultanahmet, was the first major assault aimed at tourists in a city center. It raised concerns that militants have shifted their tactics against Turkey to carry out more expansive attacks that include Turkish economic targets.

Analysts say that the attack in Sultanahmet is most likely a response to Turkey’s increased cooperation with the American-led coalition against Islamic State targets in Syria. Turkey is working closely with Washington to seal off its 60-mile border with Syria to prevent the group from using important transit routes and supply chains.

“I think this attack was first and foremost a warning issued to the Turkish government for taking a more active role as an ally — reluctant and unenthusiastic, but still an ally — of European countries and the U.S. in the fight against ISIS in Syria,” said Erdem Cipa, an assistant professor of history and Near Eastern studies at the University of Michigan. “Hence an act of violence against German nationals on Turkish soil.”

In November, the European Union reached a deal with Turkey to slow the flow of migrants coming from war-torn countries, in exchange for $3.2 billion and closer ties with the 28-nation bloc.