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Explosion Rocks Istanbul In Turkey, Kills Six, Injures 53

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An explosion on a major pedestrian thoroughfare in central Istanbul in Turkey has killed six people and injured 53.

Speaking before his departure to the G-20 summit in Indonesia on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the explosion on Istiklal Avenue appeared to be a “heinous attack”.

He, however, vowed that those responsible for the deadly explosion would be punished, according to Al Jazeera.

“Our people can rest assured that the culprits behind the attack will be punished as they deserve,” he said at a press conference.
The President noted that intelligence suggested a woman was involved in the alleged attack.

It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism,” Erdogan said.

Four people died at the scene and two died in the hospital, Erdogan said. Another 53 were wounded, according to information he received from the Istanbul governor.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the blast. Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIL (ISIS) and by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya earlier said the explosion occurred at about 4:20 pm (13:20 GMT) on Sunday.

Istiklal Avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.

A video posted online showed flames erupting and a loud bang, as pedestrians turned and ran away.

Other footage showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene.
The Turkish Red Crescent said blood was being transferred to nearby hospitals.

“My condolences to those who lost their lives in the explosion on Istiklal Avenue,” Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Twitter.

Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said the explosion comes as a shock as there have not been any recent warnings over attacks in the city.

“But security measures have remained high in the area,” she said.

Murat Aslan, a security analyst, told Al Jazeera that the place the blast took place in a very crowded area with high security in place.

“The police in general is on the highest level in this area,” he said.

“There are a lot of security cameras in the area. I think the police will identify exactly who did this and how he or she did this if it is a terror attack,” he added.

Similarly, there have also been warnings of likely terror attacks in Nigeria and South Africa. The US which gave the warning also urged its citizens to avoid some cities and areas in the countries.

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