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Istanbul shopping area hit by suicide bomb

A suicide bomb attack at a busy shopping area in the Turkish city of Istanbul has killed at least four people, officials say.

Three Israelis and an Iranian died, Turkish media reports. Another 36 people were injured in the blast near a government building on Istiklal Street.

No-one has admitted carrying out the attack, the latest in recent months.


Turkish police, forensics and emergency services were on the scene.

The Turkish government has blamed Kurdish militants for previous attacks and has retaliated against them.

Saturday’s attack in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, occurred at about 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT).

Uwes Shehadeh was some 500m (1,640ft) away when he heard “a horrific and horrible noise”.

“People didn’t know what was going on. It was very chaotic. Everyone was screaming and running away,” he told the BBC.

“Istanbul is on high alert and people are very worried as to what will happen next.”


Police cordoned off the area soon after the blast.

Eleven Israelis were among the injured. Two Irish citizens, one national each from Germany, Iceland, Dubai and Iran were also wounded.

Both the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants have claimed recent attacks in Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said terror groups are targeting civilians because they are losing their struggle against Turkish security forces.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against IS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.

Turkey has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as a extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).


Emergency services were tending to the injured.

A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down last summer.

Since then, more than 340 members of Turkey’s security forces have been killed along with at least 300 Kurdish fighters and more than 200 civilians.

Soon after the Istanbul blast, a tweet from a woman claiming to be a junior official of Turkey’s governing AKP party caused consternation on social media.

Irem Aktas, described as head of public relations for the women’s branch of a local AKP bureau in Istanbul, tweeted that she wished “all Israeli citizens in the area had died.”

The Twitter account now seems to have been taken down.

Another official from the same AKP party branch later confirmed Ms Aktas was a party member, but said her tweet did not reflect the party’s position and that the process of expelling her had started.


Source: BBC

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