Four killed in Istanbul suicide attack

A suicide bombing ripped through a famous shopping street in central Istanbul on Saturday, killing four people and injuring dozens a week after an attack by Kurdish rebels left 35 dead in Ankara.
The attack – the sixth of its kind since July – took place on Istiklal Caddesi, a pedestrian thoroughfare in the European side of the city that is usually thronged with shoppers, strollers and buskers but was still relatively quiet at the time of the blast.
‘This is a suicide attack, a terrorist attack,’ Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin told reporters at the scene, giving a provisional toll of four dead. The bomber was also killed, he said.
Health minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 36 people were injured, seven seriously. Twelve foreigners were among the casualties, he said, without giving their nationalities.
The device exploded near a shopping mall, around 500 metres from Taksim Square, a popular meeting point for Istanbul residents.
No group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sahin said the intended target was a nearby local authority building.
‘We heard a strong explosion. We rushed to the window and saw body parts stuck to the window pane,’ Ahmet, who lives in a building across the street from the scene of the attack and who was later evacuated, said.
Ahmet, a shoe shiner, said he was at Taksim Square when he heard ‘a loud explosion’.
‘I felt the ground shake and then saw police and ambulances rushing past,’ he said.
A large stretch of the street was evacuated after the attack. Armed police sealed off the area as shocked tourists looked on and a police helicopter hovered overhead.
CCTV footage published online by Dogan news agency appeared to show the moment of the blast, with a fireball erupting near a handful of passersby, sending them rushing for cover.
Television images showed ambulances ferrying the injured to hospital.
Turkey, which has been rocked by a string of attacks that have sharply increased in frequency since January, had been on high alert ahead of Kurdish New Year celebrations planned for Monday.
A Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), claimed responsibility for an attack on March 13 on a busy transport hub in Ankara that killed 35 people and threatened further strikes on the Turkish state.
TAK, which also claimed a car bombing in Ankara in mid-February that killed 29 people, has ties to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against which the Turkish army is waging a major campaign in the south-east.

source : the new age

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