A suicide bomber killed 10 people and injured 15, two of them in serious condition Tuesday Sultanahmet Square in the historic districts of the European part of Istanbul, said the governor of the city.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that the Istanbul explosion, which was a majority of foreign victims, would be the fact a Syrian suicide bomber. The alleged bomber was born in 1988, according to the identification procedures carried out on the remains of the body of the attacker.
“The procedure, a suicide bomber, and the target, a group of tourists, suggest a jihadist attack”, commented to AFP one Western diplomat. “If that’s the case, it is a sign that Daech [Arabic acronym to refer to the armed group Islamic State] has decided to attack the Turkish state,” he added. “Until then, his targets were the Kurds in Turkey. ”
Two senior Turkish security officials for their part told Reuters that it is highly likely that the Istanbul Explosion was the result of jihadist armed group Islamic State (EI).
Istanbul bomb: Erdoğan blames Syrian suicide bomber for killing 10 people – live updates https://t.co/uRkzGcLnlT
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In Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held an emergency meeting with the interior minister and heads of security services.
An explosion felt for miles
Several bodies lay on the square in Istanbul under, close to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, according to police and witnesses. German and Norwegian tourists were among the wounded, according to CNN Turk.
“I heard a very loud explosion, and then many cries”, told AFP a Turk who witnessed the event but did not give his name. “And then I saw a ball of fire and I ran away. I am 100% sure it was not a bomb but a suicide attack. ”
“The explosion was so strong that the ground shook,” confirmed a tourist named Carolina. “I fled with my daughter. We shelter in a nearby building. It’s really scary. ”
The blast was felt for miles from the place of the explosion.
An investigation is underway to determine the nature of the explosives used, adds governorate, suggesting that it is a criminal act. The chain AHaber talking about it a suicide attack, but the information could not be confirmed.
“We take precautions for fear of a second explosion,” said a police officer, who was evacuated instead.
“The explosion was very powerful […] We ran and saw bodies in shreds,” said Reuters a woman who works in a nearby store.
Turkey was already living in a state of permanent alert since the double suicide attack that left 103 dead and more than 500 wounded on 10 October. This attack targeted a pro-Kurdish rally.
A native of Russian Dagestan suicide bomber, reportedly joined the jihadist ranks according to local media, had also detonated outside a police station in the Sultanahmet district in January 2015. One policeman was killed in the attack.