Tuesday 6 December 2016

'At least 10 killed and 15 injured' following explosion in popular tourist spot in Istanbul

Published 12/01/2016 | 08:53

Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion near the Ottoman-era Sultanahmet mosque, known as Blue mosque in Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/Osman Orsal
The blast happened in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul

An explosion rocked a square in the heart of Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet tourist district on Tuesday and a police officer and witness at the scene reported seeing body parts after the blast.

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At least 10 people have been killed and 15 others injured in a blast in Istanbul, the governor's office has said.

Ambulances rushed to the site in Sultanahmet square, close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, in a major tourist area of Turkey's most populous city, ferrying away the wounded as police cordoned off streets.

"We're taking precautions against a second explosion," the police officer said, ushering people out of the square.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told independent.ie that they are monitoring the situation but they have had no requests for consular assistance at this time.

Turkey's AHaber television said the blast may have been caused by a suicide bomber but this was not independently confirmed.

Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/OsmanOrsal
Police secure the area after an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey REUTERS/Osman Orsal

"The explosion was very loud. We shook a lot. We ran out and saw body parts," one woman who works at a nearby antiques store told a Reuters correspondent, declining to give her name.

Kurdish, leftist and Islamist militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.

Turkey has also become a target for Islamic State, with two bombings last year blamed on the radical Sunni Muslim group, in the town of Suruc near the Syrian border and in the capital Ankara, the latter killing more than 100 people.

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