Female Istanbul Suicide Bomber Identified as Russian Citizen

Turkish Police
Special forces police officers stand guard at the scene of a bomb blast in Istanbul January 6, 2015. Osman Orsal/Reuters

The female suicide bomber who blew herself up at an Istanbul police station Tuesday has been identified as a Russian citizen. Diana Ramazova has been named as the female assailant who carried a bomb into the touristic Sultanahmet area January 6, killing one officer and wounding another at a police station.

Reports that "foreign phone numbers" were found in Ramazova's cell phone led police to believe Ramazova was of Chechen descent. The Hurriyet Daily News also reported that she spoke Russian in a taxi prior to the attack that killed police officer Kenan Kumaş.

Ramazova, who allegedly entered Turkey as a tourist in June 2014, was first identified by Turkish media. Reports by Russian news website Kavkazpress followed, claiming she was a Russian citizen from the Republic of Daghestan.

Kavkazpress claimed Ramazova was "radicalized by the Wahhabi ideology", an ideology that denounces non-Muslims and is adopted by Islamic State. Police in Turkey are looking into the possible connection she had with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. An investigation is also underway in Daghestan.

Ramazova is said to have lived in Istanbul with her husband and children. An autopsy of her body revealed that she was also pregnant at the time of the attack.

Local media have speculated that Ramazova may have been a part of the "Black Widows" terrorist organization, a group of women whose husbands and brothers died at the hands of Russian forces in the 1990s conflict in Chechnya. The group has not claimed any responsibility for the attack, however reports say two "Black Widows" blew themselves up in Moscow in a similar attack that killed 39 in 2010.

The Turkish far-left group DHKP-C had initially claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement on "The People's Cry" website on the day of the attack, the group said that the bombing was against the ruling AK party in response to the killing of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died at an anti-government protest in March of last year.