Update: 29 dead, 166 wounded in Istanbul terror attacks outside soccer stadium

Additional blast unexplained after car bomb outside stadium targets riot police.

By REUTERS
December 10, 2016 21:59
2 minute read.

Aftermath of Istanbul terror attack, Dec. 12, 2016

Aftermath of Istanbul terror attack, Dec. 12, 2016

 
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ISTANBUL - A car bomb followed by a suicide bombing less than a minute later killed 29 people and wounded 166 outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul on Saturday night, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.

All but two of those killed in the blasts were police officers, Soylu told a news conference with other government ministers. He said 17 of the wounded were undergoing surgery and another six were in intensive care.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the suicide bomber had detonated 45 seconds after the car bomb. Soylu said 10 people had been detained based on evidence from the detonated vehicle.

President Tayyip Erdogan described the blasts outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul's Besiktas soccer team, as a terrorist attack on police and civilians. He said the aim had been to cause the maximum number of casualties.

"As a result of these attacks unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded," Erdogan said in a statement.

"Nobody should doubt that with God's will, we as a country and a nation will overcome terror, terrorist organizations ... and the forces behind them," he said.

Istanbul is a popular travel destination for Israelis, though the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that no Israelis were hurt in the attack.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said one of the explosions hit directly outside the stadium, while the suspected suicide bomber struck in the adjacent Macka park.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Islamic State, Kurdish and far-leftist militants have all carried out bomb attacks in recent years.


Turkey, a NATO member is part of the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria, and is battling an insurgency by Kurdish militants in its southeast.

"It was like hell. The flames went all the way up to the sky. I was drinking tea at the cafe next to the mosque," said Omer Yilmaz, who works as a cleaner at the nearby Dolmabahce mosque, directly across the road from the stadium.

"People ducked under the tables, women began crying. Football fans drinking tea at the cafe sought shelter, it was horrible," he told Reuters.



Closer picture said to be from the explosion near Taksim #Istanbul pic.twitter.com/VFDALKljiT


Turkish soccer team Bursaspor, which finished a match against Besiktas attended by thousands of people two hours before the blasts, said none of its fans appeared to have been injured. It and Besiktas both said they condemned the attacks.

Turkey has been hit by a series of bombings in recent years, some blamed on Islamic State militants, others claimed by Kurdish and far-leftist militant groups.

In June, around 45 people were killed and hundreds wounded when three suspected Islamic State militants carried out a gun and bomb attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

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