Deadly blast hits busy area in central Istanbul | News

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Eleven people reportedly wounded in a blast on Istiklal Avenue, a pedestrian thoroughfare in Turkey’s biggest city.

An explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue has left people dead and injured, a senior official has said.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion occurred at about 4:20 pm (13:20 GMT) on Sunday and that there were deaths and injuries, but he did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was not clear.

“There are strong suspicions that this was a suicide bomb, but we don’t have any official statement yet [on that],” Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu said from Istanbul.

Broadcaster CNN Turk said in an early report that 11 people were injured.

A video posted online showed flames erupting and a loud bang, as pedestrians turned and ran away.

Other footage showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.

The avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.

Ambulances and security on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]

Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIL (ISIS) and by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Al Jazeera’s Koseoglu said the explosion comes as a shock, as there have not been any recent warnings over attacks in the city.

“But security measures have remained high in the area,” she said.

More to follow.


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