Istanbul: On Saturday, a suicide bomber killed himself along with 4 others in a central Istanbul shopping & tourism district, wounding at least 36 people in 4th such attack in Turkey this year.
The blast in one the most bustling areas of Istanbul sent the panicked shoppers scurrying into the side alleys off Istiklal Street, a few 100 meters from where the police buses are often positioned.
The attack will raise further questions about NATO member Turkey’s ability to protect itself against a spillover of violence from the war in neighboring Syria.
There wasn’t an immediate claim of responsibility for the attack that according to the 2 senior officials could’ve been carried out by an IS militant or PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), who fighting for the Kurdish autonomy in southeast
Since both the groups, in the recent months have targeted Turkey. A PKK offshoot claimed the responsibility for 2 suicide bombings in capital Ankara over past month that had killed at least 66 people. And IS was held accountable for bombing in January in Istanbul that had killed a total of 12 German tourists.
One of the officials stated that the bomber planned to hit a more crowded site but he was hindered by the police presence.
“The attacker detonated the bomb before reaching the target point because they were scared of the police,” said the official,
Another official said that the investigations were focusing on 3 possible male suspects, 2 of whom are from southern city of Gaziantep near Syrian border. There, however was no further confirmation of this.
The armed police had sealed the shopping street where the half a dozen ambulances were gathered. The Forensic teams sought for the evidence as the police helicopters buzzed overhead.
“I saw a body on street. No one was treating him but then I saw someone who appeared to be a regular citizen trying to do something to the body. That was enough for me & I turned & went back,” said one resident.
Fortunately, Istiklal Street was quieter than usual as more people are preferring to stay inside their homes after a series of deadly bombings.
Mehmet Muezzinoglu, the Health Minister confirmed that 36 people are wounded, 7 of those were in serious condition & 12 of the wounded were foreigners.
Broadcaster NTV said that 6 of the wounded were Israeli tourists & 2 others were from Iceland.