Wednesday 22 November 2017

At least 13 dead in suicide bomb attacks at game

Horror: Fire fighters and police cover the dead lying in the debris at the site of a car bomb explosion outside the stadium of football club Besiktas in central Istanbul last night
Horror: Fire fighters and police cover the dead lying in the debris at the site of a car bomb explosion outside the stadium of football club Besiktas in central Istanbul last night
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Two explosions, one thought to have been a suicide bomb, killed 13 people outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul last night, security sources said, in an attack that appeared to target police hours after a match between two of Turkey's top teams.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described the blasts outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul's Besiktas soccer team, as a "cruel plot". One of the explosions hit directly outside the stadium, while the suspected suicide bomber struck in the adjacent Macka park, he told reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Islamic State, Kurdish and far-leftist militants have all carried out bomb attacks in recent years. The NATO member is part of the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria, and is battling an insurgency by Kurdish militants in its southeast.

Three separate security sources said at least 13 people had been killed but there was no official confirmation of this. Soylu said he would make a statement on the death toll later.

He had earlier said that around 20 people were wounded and that initial indications were that a car bomb targeting a police bus was responsible for one of the blasts.

"It was like hell. The flames went all the way up to the sky. I was drinking tea at the cafe next to the mosque," said Omer Yilmaz, who works as a cleaner at the nearby Dolmabahce mosque, directly across the road from the stadium.

"People ducked under the tables, women began crying. Football fans drinking tea at the cafe sought shelter, it was horrible," he told Reuters.

A Reuters photographer said many riot police officers were seriously wounded at the stadium where Turkish soccer team Bursaspor had finished a match against Besiktas.

Sunday Independent

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