Turk­ish sui­cide bomb­ing earns global con­dem­na­tion

At least 10, mostly Ger­man tourists, killed in blast

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A sui­cide bomber af­fil­i­ated with the Is­lamic State group det­o­nated a bomb in a his­toric district of Istanbul pop­u­lar with tourists Tues­day morn­ing, killing at least 10 peo­ple — nine of them Ger­man tourists — and wound­ing 15 oth­ers, Turk­ish of­fi­cials said.

Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu said the bomber who car­ried out the at­tack in Istanbul’s Sul­tanah­met district was a mem­ber of IS and pledged to bat­tle the mil­i­tant group un­til it no longer “re­mains a threat” to Turkey or the world.

Davu­to­glu de­scribed the at­tacker as a “for­eign na­tional.” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Nu­man Kur­tul­mus had pre­vi­ously said the per­pe­tra­tor was born in 1988 and was a Syr­ian na­tional, but the pri­vate Do­gan news agency claimed the bomber was Saudi-born.

“Turkey won’t back­track in its strug­gle against Daesh by even one step,” Davu­to­glu said, re­fer­ring to IS by its Ara­bic acro­nym.

“This ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tion, the as­sailants and all of their con­nec­tions will be found and they will re­ceive the pun­ish­ments they de­serve.”

Turkey’s state-run news agency said Davu­to­glu held a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Ger­man chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel to ex­press his con­do­lences.

A se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial con­firmed that most of the vic­tims were Ger­man. Merkel had ear­lier said they were part of a Ger­man travel group.

“I strongly con­demn the ter­ror in­ci­dent that oc­curred in Istanbul, at the Sul­tanah­met Square, and which has been as­sessed as be­ing an at­tack by a Syria-rooted sui­cide bomber,” Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said.

Davu­to­glu said the death toll of 10 did not in­clude the sui­cide bomber. Merkel, speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence in Ber­lin, de­cried the at­tack.

“To­day Istanbul was hit; Paris has been hit, Tu­nisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit be­fore,” she said. “In­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism is once again show­ing its cruel and in­hu­man face to­day.”

The ex­plo­sion, which could be heard from sev­eral neigh­bour­hoods, was at a park that is home to a land­mark obelisk, some 25 me­tres (yards) from the his­toric Blue Mosque.

Turkey’s Do­gan news agency re­ported that one Nor­we­gian and one Peru­vian were also among the wounded, and Seoul’s For­eign Min­istry told re­porters via text mes­sage that a South Korean had a fin­ger in­jury.

The Nor­we­gian For­eign Min­istry told news agency NTB that the Nor­we­gian tourist was slightly hurt and was be­ing treated in a lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

Kur­tul­mus, the deputy premier, said two of the wounded were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

Po­lice sealed the area, bar­ring peo­ple from ap­proach­ing in case of a se­cond ex­plo­sion, and a po­lice he­li­copter hov­ered over­head.

The Sul­tanah­met neigh­bour­hood is Istanbul’s main sight­see­ing area and in­cludes the Top­kapi Palace and the for­mer Byzan­tine church of Haghia Sophia, now a mu­seum.

Er­dem Koroglu, who was work­ing at a nearby of­fice, told NTV tele­vi­sion he saw sev­eral peo­ple on the ground fol­low­ing the blast.

“It was dif­fi­cult to say who was alive or dead,” Koroglu said. “Build­ings rat­tled from the force of the ex­plo­sion.”

Halil Ibrahim Pel­tek, a shop­keeper near the area of the blast told The As­so­ci­ated Press it had “an earth­quake ef­fect.”


Peo­ple be­lieved to be Ger­man tourists that were tar­geted at an ex­plo­sion in the his­toric Sul­tanah­met district are es­corted back to their ho­tel in Istanbul Tues­day.

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