World Europe 19 Mar 2016 Suicide bomb attack ...

Suicide bomb attack in Istanbul kills 5, at least 20 wounded

AFP
Published Mar 19, 2016, 3:20 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2016, 4:42 pm IST
The police had sealed off part of the street, which adjoins Taksim Square in the European part of the city.
People flee the scene of an explosion on the pedestrian Istiklal avenue in Istanbul. (Photo: AFP)
 People flee the scene of an explosion on the pedestrian Istiklal avenue in Istanbul. (Photo: AFP)

Istanbul: A suicide attacker detonated a bomb on Istanbul's main pedestrian shopping street on Saturday, killing five people, the city's governor said. Twenty other people were injured in the attack. The attacker was among the dead.

Governor Vasip Sahin said the explosion occurred outside a local government office on Istiklal Street, which is also home to cafes, restaurants and foreign consulate buildings. Sahin said one of wounded victims died in hospital. The private Dogan news agency said at least three of the injured are Israeli nationals. Police sealed off the area and a forensic team was at the scene.

 

Turkey was already on edge following two recent suicide car bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group, which is an off-shoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The most recent attack, on March 13, targeted a line of bus stops on Ankara's busiest street and killed 37 including two bombers.

"It was one loud explosion," said Muhammed Fatur, a Syrian who works at a butcher shop near the scene of Saturday's explosion. "Police came to the scene and sealed off the area."

 

Turkey had heightened security in Ankara and Istanbul in the run-up to a Kurdish spring festival of Newroz on March 21, which Kurds in Turkey traditionally use to assert their ethnic identity and demand greater rights.

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