BLASTS KILL DOZENS IN ISTANBUL
Multiple arrests have been made, several police officers were killed and over 100 people were wounded in Turkey.
istanbul» Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu says two blasts after an Istanbul soccer match have killed 29 people and wounded 166 others.
The twin Saturday night bombings inflicted high casualties among police, killing 27 officers.
In an address early Sunday, the minister said 10 people had been arrested in connection with the attacks.
Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium, known colloquially as Besiktas Stadium, after the local team. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions, which apparently targeted police officers. The second blast was thought to be a car bomb.
“We have once again witnessed tonight in Istanbul the ugly face of terror which tramples on every value and decency,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. This year, Istanbul has witnessed bombings attributed by authorities to the Islamic State terrorist group or claimed by Kurdish terrorists. A state of emergency has been in force after a failed July 15 coup attempt.
Turkey is a partner in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, and its armed forces are active in neighboring Syria and Iraq. It is also facing a renewed conflict with an outlawed Kurdish movement in the southeast.
A taxi driver at the site of the bombings said their force made him hit his head on the taximeter and that his ears were still ringing from the blasts and screaming that followed.
“Amid the screams, I heard an officer saying, ‘Do not shout! Do not make them (the perpetrators) be satisfied,’ ” said Ismail Coskun.
The first and larger explosion took place about 7:30 p.m. GMT after the home team Besiktas beat visitor Bursaspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super League. Without giving numbers, Erdogan said the timing of the attack aimed to maximize the loss of life and vowed the nation would overcome terrorism.
Soylu told reporters in Istanbul the first explosion took place on a hill adjacent to and overlooking the stadium. The second explosion struck Macka Park and was believed to be a suicide bomb.
The private NTV channel reported that the target of the first attack was a bus for riot police and said nearly 70 wounded were taken to hospitals.
Kurdish terrorists often target security forces while Islamic State-linked attacks have targeted tourists and the broader public.