Bomb targetting riot police kills 11 in Istanbul

A rush-hour car bomb targeting a bus carrying riot police in Istanbul has killed 11 people and wounded 36 others.

Speaking at the scene of the blast, in the Beyazit district, Istanbul governor, Vasip Sahin, said the dead included seven police officers and four civilians. Three of the wounded were in serious condition.

The bomb was placed inside a car and detonated as the police vehicle passed by. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and Sahin would not comment on the possible identity of the attackers.

The attack was the fourth major bombing in Istanbul this year, with two of them targeting tourists and the others hitting security forces. The spike in violence has led to a sharp dip in tourism, a mainstay of the Turkish economy.

The police bus was flipped over by the blast, which also damaged buildings, including a closed hotel, whose entrance appeared gutted.

Windows were blown out. The blast also shattered windows at a famous, 16th-century Ottoman mosque, Sehzadebasi, wrecked several cars and forced the cancellation of exams at nearby Istanbul University.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited some of the wounded at Istanbul’s Haseki hospital, where two people were undergoing surgery.

“These (attacks) are being carried out against people whose duty it is to ensure the security of our people.

"These cannot be pardoned or forgiven. We shall continue our fight against terrorists fearlessly and tirelessly, until the end,” he told reporters outside the hospital.

Several groups have issues with the Turkish government. Rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, have targeted police and military personnel since July, when a fragile peace process between the rebels and the government collapsed.

The Islamic State group has also been blamed for a series of deadly bombings in Turkey, which is part of the US-led coalition against IS.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim promised a full investigation.

“Our security and forensic units will carefully, and diligently, trace evidence and shed light on those who perpetrated this vile attack,” he said.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu condemned the attack, which occurred on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

“They are cold-heartedly exploding bombs on a Ramadan day,” Cavusoglu said. Authorities imposed a news blackout, preventing media from reporting details of the investigation.

US ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, condemned the “heinous attack,” saying his country continues to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.”


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