Deaths and injuries reported after explosion in central Istanbul


Eleven people reportedly wounded in a blast on Istiklal Avenue, a pedestrian thoroughfare in Turkey’s biggest city.

An explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue Sunday has left people dead and injured, a senior official has said.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion occurred at about 4:20 pm (13:20 GMT) on Sunday and that there were deaths and injuries, but he did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was not clear.

A video posted online showed flames erupting and a loud bang, as pedestrians turned and ran away.

Other footage showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.

Broadcaster CNN Turk said 11 people were injured. The avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.

Ambulances and security is seen after an explosion on busy pedestrian Istiklal street in Istanbul.
Ambulances and security on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]

Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIL (ISIS) and groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“There are strong suspicions that this was a suicide bomb, but we don’t have any official statement yet [on that],” Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu said from Istanbul.

Koseoglu said the explosion comes as a shock, as there have not been any recent warnings over attacks in the city.

“But security measures have remained high in the area,” she said.

More to follow.

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