A car bomb ripped through a police bus in central Istanbul during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding 36 near the main tourist district, a major university and the mayor’s
A car bomb ripped through a police bus in central Istanbul during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding 36 near the main tourist district, a major university and the mayor’s office.
The car was detonated as police buses passed, Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin told reporters, in the fourth major bombing in Turkey’s biggest city in 2016.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Kurdish militants have staged similar attacks on the security forces before, including one in May in Istanbul.
Security concerns were already hitting tourism and investor confidence. Wars in neighbouring Syria and Iraq have fostered a home-grown ISIS network blamed for a series of suicide bombings, while militants from the largely Kurdish southeast have increasingly struck in cities further afield.
President Tayyip Erdogan vowed the Nato member’s fight against terrorism would go on, describing the attack on officers whose jobs were to protect others as “unforgivable”.
“We will continue our fight against these terrorists until the end, tirelessly and fearlessly,” he told reporters after visiting some of the injured in a hospital near the blast site.
Mr Sahin said the dead included seven police officers and four civilians and that the attack had targeted vehicles carrying members of a riot police unit. Three of the 36 wounded were in critical condition, he said.
The bomb was planted in a rental car and was detonated by remote control, the Dogan news agency said.
Several witness reported hearing gunshots, although there was confusion as to whether attackers had opened fire or whether police officers had been trying to protect colleagues.
The 16th-century Sehzade Mosque — considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan — was also damaged by the force of the explosion.
Television footage showed its windows blown out and debris littering the floor. Meanwhile, the police detained four people in a hunt for the perpetrators, state media said.
The four suspects were taken to police headquarters in Istanbul for interrogation, state-run Anatolia agency said, without providing further information.