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What’s happening in Istanbul in the aftermath of the explosion
An explosion in the heart of Istanbul’s Sultanhamet tourist hub, home to the Blue Mosque, killed and wounded tens of people this morning.
Istanbul, Turkey – 10:20, local time. An explosion rocked the most prominent tourist district of the Turkish city, Sultanhamet, home to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii, in Turkish).
According to authorities, the blast killed at least 10 people and wounded 15.
17.27 – Peru’s foreign ministry Ana María Sánchez has declared that a Peruvian man was killed in the blast and a Peruvian woman injured. The other 9 victims were German.
16:52 – The suicide bomber responsible for the blast was not on Turkey’s list of suspected militants. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said he is thought to have entered the country recently. Authorities said the bomber was a Syrian national, was born in 1988, and a member of the Islamic State. However, the terrorist organisation hasn’t claim responsibility of the blast.
15:18 – At least nine of the victims of the Sultanahmet attack were Germans, according to Associated Press citing Turkish official sources. Turkey’s Prime Minister Davutoglu told German Chancellor Angel Merkel about it earlier in a telephone call.
13:30 – Most of the victims are foreign tourists. Two of the 15 wounded people are in critical state, according to Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.
12:50 – “Pick a side. You are either on the side of the Turkish government, or you’re on the side of the terrorists,” added Erdogan, criticising even the US linguist Noam Chomsky “guilty” of having contested the Turkish government.
12:36 – “I condemn the terror incident in Istanbul assessed to be an attack by a suicide bomber with Syrian origin. Unfortunately we have 10 dead including foreigners and Turkish nationals. There are also 15 wounded,” said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
— Today’s Zaman (@todayszamancom) 12 Gennaio 2016
— RT (@RT_com) 12 Gennaio 2016
As it has already happened in the past, the government decided to impose a broadcast ban on coverage, contributing to increase uncertainties on the episode. On 10 October, a terror attack killed 97 people in the capital Ankara during a peace rally. On 23 December, another blast killed one person at Istanbul’s second airport Sabiha Gökçen.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held an emergency meeting in the capital, according to Humyera Pamuk of Reuters.
Some sources say the blast may have been caused by a suicide bomber, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Meanwhile, police forces closed off the surrounding area home to important monuments and buildings, including Hagia Sofia.
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