Turkish authorities identified the assailant in Tuesday's attack as a Syrian man who was born in 1988, and said he was affiliated with the Islamic State group. Turkish media, including some close to the government, identified him as Nabil Fadli and said he was Saudi-born.

The extremist group has not so far claimed the attack.

Meanwhile, Turkish police arrested five people suspected of direct links to the bomb attack which took place just steps from the historic Blue Mosque in Istanbul's storied Sultanahmet district. The suspects were not identified.

The bomber had recently entered Turkey, authorities said, and Interior Minister Efkan Ala confirmed reports he had registered with an Istanbul branch of the Migration Management Authority, providing fingerprints that allowed officials to quickly identify him.

The attack wounded 15 people, including nine Germans and citizens of Norway, Peru and South Korea. Six of the victims remained hospitalized yesterday.

The fact that the bomber had registered as a Syrian refugee suggests central planning by Islamic State leaders, either to cover their tracks or provoke a backlash in Europe against legitimate Syrian asylum-seekers, said Firas Abi-Ali, an analyst with the security consultancy IHS Country Risk.

"It seems to make it less likely this was anything but a centrally commanded operation by the Islamic State," he said.

It is not the first time the group has taken advantage of the chaos caused by the huge influx of asylum-seekers into Europe by ensuring that suicide bombers were registered and fingerprinted and would thus be identified as refugees after their deaths.

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