Kurdish militants have claimed responsibility for the assassination of an Istanbul supporter of the Islamic State group, local media outlets reported Thursday. The attack came as fighting between Kurdish and Islamic State militants in Syria was threatening to spill over into neighboring Turkey.
The man killed, Mursel Gul, a soap salesman, was shot late Wednesday night in a setup by members of a group affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district. Police said Gul was shot four times as he delivered an order of soap to the perpetrators, who posed as salesmen. In a statement, the PKK’s youth wing said it had been tracking Gul for at least three months.
“We will continue our operations against the ISIS gang and have identified many of them and will execute and punish them,” the group said in a statement, according to Al Arabiya. [The Islamic State group is also known as ISIS or ISIL.]
Police said Gul praised ISIS on social media and had crossed back and forth between Turkey and Syria, according to Hurriyet Daily News. The youth movement said Gul held a significant position in ISIS, a claim that has drawn skepticism following an antiterror police investigation that has yet to reveal a connection between Gul and the militants, Al Arabiya said.