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Turkey: Suicide bomber kills 4 in Istanbul terror attack

20th Mar 2016
Turkey: Suicide bomber kills 4 in Istanbul terror attack

ISTANBUL (AA) – Five people, including the suicide attacker were killed and 39 others were injured in an explosion on Istanbul’s popular Istiklal Street Saturday, Turkish officials said.

The White House confirmed two American citizens were among the four killed in the blast.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

“We are in close touch with Turkish authorities and reaffirm our commitment to work together with Turkey to confront the evil of terrorism,” he added.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also confirmed that two dual American-Israeli citizens were among the dead. There is also an Iranian among the dead.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sent messages of condolences to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri over the deaths of their citizens.

Out of the total injured, 24 are foreigners, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said.

Talking to reporters after visiting Sisli Etfal Hospital, Sahin said so far nine people had been discharged, while 30 others remained hospitalized.

Seven victims were severely injured in the incident, he added.

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that a number of Irish citizens had been injured in Saturday’s bomb attack.

Flanagan advised citizens planning a trip to Turkey to exercise caution and to follow the instructions of Turkish police and local authorities.

“I have spoken to Ambassador Brendan Ward in Turkey and can confirm that we are aware of a number of Irish citizens among the injured…anyone with concerns for Irish citizens please ring 01 4082000 or Embassy Ankara on 0090 312 4591000,” he said.

About claims the suicide bomber was a Daesh member, Istanbul governor said the investigation into the incident was still ongoing, and it was “too early” to make such a claim.

Sahin also dismissed the claim that the blast was directly related to the warning shared by the Consulate General of Germany in Istanbul prior to the attack.

Germany on Thursday closed its consulate in Istanbul as well as the embassy in Ankara following, what German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called “very concrete intelligence” regarding a possible attack on German missions in Turkey. The German school in Istanbul was also closed.

Davutoglu condemned the “inhuman” attack in a written statement, extending his condolences to the families of victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“On behalf of my country, nation and government, I condemn the murderers who committed this atrocious attack which directly targeted people without any discrimination, as well as all traitors who supported and instigated them to carry out such an inhuman act,” Davutoglu said.

He added that messages of condemnation pouring in from everywhere proved that the whole world was beginning to see terrorism’s “real face,” which targeted “all humanity and the people’s right to life”.

He also vowed that Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism with the same determination “until it is completely eradicated”.

Meanwhile, Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office also lifted the broadcast ban imposed after the morning blast.

The blast took place at around 11 a.m. local time (0900 GMT), after which several fire-fighting trucks and ambulances were seen rushing towards the scene.

The street, which was closed to traffic following the blast, was opened to traffic shortly before 7 p.m. local time (1700 GMT).
Author Hale Türkeş

 

[Photo: Turkish Police officers block the Istiklal street as they take security measures after an explosion at Istiklal street in Istanbul, Turkey on March 19, 2016. Photographer: Şebnem Coşkun/AA]

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