A car bomb followed by a suicide bombing less than a minute later killed 29 people and wounded 166 outside a football 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. Turkey’s interior minister says two bombings in Istanbul have killed 29 people and wounded 116.
Soylu described the blasts outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul’s Beşiktaș football team, as a “cruel plot”.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Islamic State, Kurdish and far-left militants have all carried out bomb attacks in recent years. The Nato member is part of the US-led coalition fighting Isis in Syria and is battling an insurgency by Kurdish militants in the south-east of the country.
“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 Dolmabahçe 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.
A Reuters photographer said many riot police officers were seriously injured. Armed police sealed off streets. Police water cannon doused the wreckage of a burned-out car and there were two separate fires on the road outside the stadium.
Broadcaster NTV said one of the explosions had targeted a police vehicle that was leaving the stadium after fans had already dispersed.
Turkish football team Bursaspor, which finished a match against Beşiktaş attended by thousands of people two hours before the blasts, said none of its fans appeared to have been injured. It and Beşiktaş both said they condemned the attacks. “Those attacking our nation’s unity and solidarity will never win,” sports minister Akif Çagğtay Kilic said on Twitter.
Turkey’s transport minister, Ahmet Arslan, also writing on Twitter, described it as a terrorist attack.
“I condemn the terror attack on Beşiktaş, Istanbul, and wish all those injured a speedy recovery,” he wrote.
President Tayyip Erdogan, who was in Istanbul at the time of the explosions, had been in contact with the chief of Istanbul police and the prime minister and was following developments closely, sources in his office said.
The US consulate in Istanbul issued a tweet urging people to avoid the area.
Written by: The Guardian