ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A far-left Turkish group on Friday retracted its claim of responsibility for a suicide bombing of a police station in central Istanbul this week.
A woman entered the police station in the historic Sultanahmet district on Tuesday, saying in English she had lost her purse, before throwing explosives and blowing herself up, killing a police officer and wounding another.
Hours after the attack a statement on the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) website said its fighters carried out the bombing.
But on Friday, the group withdrew its statement, saying it had made a mistake because it was actively planning its own attack which “coincided with the Sultanahmet incident”. It did not give details about its planned attack.
“The action targeting the Istanbul Tourism Police in Sultanahmet on Jan. 6 was not carried out by our organization,” the group said on its website. “That is why we are withdrawing our claim of responsibility.”
Turkish newspapers reported this week the bomber was a pregnant Russian woman, and that the police intelligence services were investigating potential links to al Qaeda.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the police had identified the suicide bomber but said it would be inappropriate to give further details.
The DHKP-C traces its roots to Communist movements active in Turkey in the 1970s. It has carried out several attacks on the security forces, most recently on Jan. 1 when a man threw a homemade bomb at police officers.
A series of arrests across Turkey and Europe over the last decade have significantly weakened the DHKP-C, but experts say it still poses a serious threat.
The United States, European Union and Turkey list the group as a terrorist organization.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Sam Wilkin