Sunday, December 11, 2016
Bombs kill 38 people in Istanbul, most of them policemen
Turkey said on Sunday that Kurdish militants may be responsible for the two bombs that killed 38 people and wounded 155 in what looked to be a coordinated attack on police outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul after a match between two top teams.
The blasts on Saturday night - a car bomb outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul's Besiktas soccer team, followed by a suicide bomb attack in an adjacent park less than a minute later - shook a nation still trying to recover from a series of deadly bombings this year in cities including Istanbul and the capital Ankara.
There was no claim of responsibility, but Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said early indications pointed to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a three-decade insurgency, mainly in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast. Ten people have been detained so far, he said.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the first explosion, which came around two hours after the end of the match between Besiktas and Bursaspor, was at an assembly point for riot police. The second came as police surrounded the suicide bomber in the nearby Macka park.
"According to the latest information we have received, 38 of our nation's children have reached martyrdom after last night's cruel attack," Soylu told a news conference.
"These cruel attacks do not discourage us, to the contrary they brings us together as a nation."
He said seven victims were civilians and one remained unidentified. A total of 155 people were being treated in hospital, with 14 of them in intensive care and five in surgery.
The bombings come five months after Turkey was shaken by a failed military coup, in which more than 240 people were killed, many of them in Istanbul, as rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets in a bid to seize power.
Istanbul has seen several other attacks this year, including in June, when around 45 people were killed and hundreds wounded as three suspected Islamic State militants carried out a gun and bomb attack on its main Ataturk airport.