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Istanbul blast kills 10 as Syrian suicide bomber targets tourists

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Baku, January 12, AZERTAC

Ten people, mostly foreigners, were killed on Tuesday when a Syrian suicide bomber blew himself up in Istanbul's busiest tourist district, in the latest deadly attack to hit the country, according to AFP.

Images showed several mutilated corpses lying on the ground close to the iconic Ottoman-era Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet, a district which is home to Istanbul's biggest concentration of historic monuments.

"I strongly condemn the terror attack which was carried out by a suicide bomber of Syrian origin," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said most of the dead were foreigners, but did not give details on their nationality. He identified the bomber as a Syrian national born in 1988.

17:42

Baku, January 12, AZERTAC

Ten people were killed in a blast at Istanbul’s Sultanahmet tourist district Tuesday morning, local officials said, according to Anadolu Agency.

The provincial governor’s office reported 15 wounded in an explosion in the area around Sultanahmet Square at 10.20 a.m. local time (0820GMT). The square lies between two of Istanbul’s most popular tourist attractions, the

Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) and Ayasofya (Hagia Sofia).

Early speculation suggested a suicide bomb had been detonated although there was no official confirmation.

Shop owner Sener Ozdemir, 45, said he heard the blast. “I’ve never heard such a loud explosion in my life,” he told Anadolu Agency. “It was very violent. Just after the incident I saw shocked tourists falling to the ground.”

Police cordoned off the square and closed down the local tram service while nearby attractions also closed.

The area, on the European side of Istanbul, is home to the city’s most popular tourist sites and contains hundreds of hotels and restaurants. The square, which is dotted with gardens, fountains and benches, is usually thronged with tourists throughout the day.

Turkey has faced recent attacks from the far-left groups and the Daesh terrorist organization as well as a renewed terror campaign by terrorist organization PKK in the southeast.

A year ago a woman killed herself and a police officer when she detonated a suicide bomb in a police station a few dozen meters from Sultanahmet Square.

Elsewhere, there have been terror attacks linked to Daesh. In October, 103 people were killed in a twin suicide bomb attack in capital Ankara while more than 30 were killed in a blast in Suruc, close to the Syrian border, in July.

12:52

An explosion has rocked a central square in Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, according to Hurriyet newspaper.

The incident took place on Sultanahmet Square. Police and emergency crews rushed to the scene.

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