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Bulgaria detains five suspected of involvement in Istanbul Nov. 13 bombing

Bulgarian prosecutors have charged five people for supporting terrorist acts in connection with an explosion in central Istanbul that killed six people on November 13, the prosecutor supervising the case told media on Saturday.

All of the suspects were foreign nationals, one of them holding dual Bulgarian citizenship, prosecutor Angel Kanev said.

“They are charged with two crimes: being in an organised crime group for human trafficking and the other is, according to article 108A in the criminal code, generally speaking, aiding to a certain extent at a certain moment, terrorist activities,” said Kanev.

He added that authorities were gathering evidence on other potential suspects.

Chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev told Reuters the suspects were three men of Moldovan origin and a man and woman of Syrian Kurdish descent and had been detained by Bulgarian special police officers earlier in the week.

Prosecutors asked a court on Saturday to keep the four men in detention, while a different option will be sought for the woman in light of a health condition. Prosecutor Geshev said Turkish prosecutors have already asked for some of the suspected accomplices in the blast to be extradited.

The day before the arrest, on November 19, a Turkish court ordered the pre-trial detention of 17 people suspected of being involved in the explosion, including the suspected bomber, who police identified as Syrian national Ahlam Albashir.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, which also injured more than 80 people on İstiklal Avenue, a busy historic pedestrian strip, but the Turkish government swiftly blamed Kurdish militants for the blast and police have said the suspected bomber was trained by Kurdish militants in Syria.

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