Two masked assailants launched an armed attack on an Italian church in Istanbul during a service on Sunday, leaving one person dead, Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said.
According to a statement by Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, the assailants attacked the Santa Maria Church in the Sariyer district at 11:40 a.m. local time (08:40 GMT).
He did not specify what kind of weapons were used or whether anyone else was wounded. Local officials said around 40 people attended the mass.
Turkish officials said the attack looked like a targeted attack against one person rather than against the Catholic church.
An investigation has been launched, and authorities are working to apprehend the attackers, Yerlikaya said. "We strongly condemn this vile attack," he said. The mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, also condemned the attack.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed condolences over the attack in a church and said "necessary steps" were taken to hunt down killers, according to his office.
Erdogan, who spoke on the phone with local officials as well as a priest at the Italian church, said "necessary steps are being taken to catch the perpetrators as soon as possible."
Television images showed police and an ambulance outside the ornate church. It was not immediately clear what the motive for the attack was.
DW correspondent in Turkey Julia Hahn reported that the authorities have imposed a news blackout on reporting about the attack