Over 6 Killed, 81 Injured After Blast Rocks Istanbul's Istiklal Street
The Turkish government on Monday said that a suspect in the case has been detained by the police.
At least six persons were killed and 81 others injured after a blast rocked Istiklal street in Turkey's Istanbul on Sunday evening. According to Turkish media, a suspect has been detained in connection with the case. A nine-year-old girl is reportedly among the six dead.
"The person who planted the bomb was detained by the Istanbul Police Department. Before that, about 21 more people had been detained," Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was quoted saying by the TRT.
Here is what we know about the explosion in the heart of Istanbul:
A blast rocked the busy street at around 4:20 pm local time in Istanbul's Beyoglu district on Sunday. The street is known for its bustling life lined with shopping centres, coffee shops and clubs. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the blast was an "act of terrorism".
"It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack, but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism," Erdogan was quoted by TRT.
The report also quoted Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag saying that a woman was seen sitting sat on one of the benches on the street for over 40 minutes, and the explosion occurred just minutes after she got up.
Videos of the blast were shared on social media that showed people running in panic after the explosion was heard. Police vehicles and ambulances were seen rushing through the street soon after.
What did Erdogan say?
Erdogan addressed a press briefing on Sunday evening before leaving for Indonesia to attend the summit of the Group of 20 leading economies. "Efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish people through terrorism will fail today just as they did yesterday and as they will tomorrow," Erdogan said, assuring action against the perpetrators.
"It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Who carried out the attack?
Though no outfit has claimed the responsibility for the blast, Turkish Interior Minister Soylu was quoted by Turkish news agency Anadolu saying that the attack was the handiwork of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). "Our assessment is that the order for the deadly terror attack came from Ayn al-Arab in northern Syria, where the PKK has its Syrian headquarters," he said.
Turkey issued a ban on the broadcast of audio and visual footage related to the blast. "We invite media organisations to be responsible, not to rely on misleading content sourced from social media, and to take the statements of relevant public authorities as a basis," Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun told TRT.
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