11 Killed In Istanbul Bomb Attack On Police

A bomb ripped through a Turkish police bus near Istanbul’s historic centre Tuesday, killing seven officers and four civilians in the latest of a string of attacks in Turkey’s biggest city.

The car bomb targeted a bus shuttle service carrying anti-riot police as it was passing through the central Beyazit district close to many of the city’s top tourist sites, Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said in a statement on Turkish television.

Thirty-six people were wounded, three of them seriously, he added.

The attack had the hallmark of Kurdish militants who have repeatedly targeted the security forces.

Islamic State jihadists have also staged several attacks in Turkish cities in the past year.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s bombing, which occurred on the second day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezneciler metro station, which is within walking distance of some of the city’s main tourist sites including the famed Suleymaniye Mosque.

The metro station was closed as a security precaution.

The bomb reduced the police vehicle to mangled wreckage and the windows of nearby shops were blown out by the force of the blast.

Television images showed bomb disposal experts examining the scene in case of a second unexploded bomb.

Scheduled examinations at Istanbul University — which lies close to the scene of the blast — have been cancelled.

Reports said that shots were heard after the powerful explosion.

The blast took place opposite an upscale hotel favoured by foreign tourists, the Celal Aga Konagi Hotel, a converted Ottoman mansion.

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.

Loudspeakers on mosques were used to warn people to vacate the area, after which a controlled explosion was carried out on a suspicious vehicle.

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