Thursday 29 September 2016

Rush-hour bomb in Istanbul kills 11 and injures 36

Louisa Loveluck in Ankara

Published 08/06/2016 | 02:30

Turkish security officials and firefighters work at the explosion site after a bus carrying riot police official was struck by a bomb in Istanbul. Photo: AP
Turkish security officials and firefighters work at the explosion site after a bus carrying riot police official was struck by a bomb in Istanbul. Photo: AP
A police officer stands guard near the site where a Turkish police bus was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district. Photo: Reuters
People stand outside of a pastry shop near the site where a Turkish police bus was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016
A man sweeps up shattered glass at his damaged shop caused by an explosion in Istanbul, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. A bomb attack targeting a bus carrying riot police during rush hour traffic in Istanbul on Tuesday has killed number of people and wounded dozens others, the city's governor said
Forensic experts (L) and firefighters stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016
Forensic experts (L) and firefighters stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016

A rush-hour car bomb ripped through central Istanbul yesterday, killing 11 people and wounding up to 36 more in one of the worst terrorist attacks on the city for nearly a decade.

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The explosion appeared to target a shuttle bus carrying riot police as it passed through a busy junction in Beyazit, close to the Grand Bazaar.

The death toll from terrorist attacks across Turkey has passed 100 this year alone.

Although the deadliest have been linked to Isil, a string have also been claimed by militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which regularly targets security personnel in its civil war with the government.

Yesterday's blast mangled the police bus and several nearby cars.

It also shattered windows at a 16th-century Ottoman mosque, Sehzadebasi, and forced the cancellation of exams at the nearby Istanbul University.

A police officer stands guard near the site where a Turkish police bus was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district. Photo: Reuters
A police officer stands guard near the site where a Turkish police bus was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district. Photo: Reuters

Hours after the explosion, police detained four suspects reported to have hired the car used in the bombing.

The reports made no mention of the suspects' possible affiliation. The authorities imposed a news blackout.

President Recep Tayip Erdogan suggested that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was behind the attack and pledged to continue Turkey's fight against terrorism. But there was no early claim of responsibility.

John Bass, the US ambassador to Turkey, condemned the "heinous attack", saying his country continued to "stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey in the fight against terrorism".

Forensic experts (L) and firefighters stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016
Forensic experts (L) and firefighters stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016

Since the start of the year, Turkey has been hit by a sequence of attacks that have caused tourism to plummet.

Two separate blasts in Ankara claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons - a radical splinter group of the PKK - earlier this year claimed dozens of lives.

Last month, at least eight people, including soldiers. were wounded by a remotely detonated car bomb aimed at a military vehicle in Istanbul that was claimed by the PKK. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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