The suicide bomber who killed at least 10 foreigners in the heart of Istanbul’s historic tourist district on Tuesday, most of them German, was a foreign member of the Islamic State group, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced in a television broadcast.
Davutoglu said all of those killed in the attack were foreigners and that he had spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express condolences. Most of those wounded were also German, he said.
Speaking in Ankara in comment broadcast on television, Davutoglu vowed that Turkey would find those linked to the bomber and punish them and said that its fight against Islamic State would continue.
At least 10 people were killed and 15 injured after an explosion rocked a central Istanbul square on Tuesday, Turkey’s Haberturk television said.
The blast, which took place in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet square, a major tourist attraction in Turkey’s most populous city, may have been caused by a suicide bomber, Haberturk said, without citing its sources. There was, however, no official word on the cause of the blast.
Foreign tourists from Germany and Norway are among the wounded in Istanbul blast, says CNN Turk.
Turkish authorities suspect a terror attack was the cause of the blast, a government official said.
“Terrorist links are suspected,” the officicial told AFP, asking not to be named, after the explosion.
Turkish police sealed off the Sultanahmet square after the blast, a Reuters witness said. Ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion, close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The state-run Anadolu Agency said several police and medics were sent to the area.
Turkey witnessed two major bomb attacks last year.
More than 30 people were killed in an Islamic State suicide attack in the town of Suruc, near Turkey’s border with Syria, in July.
Two suicide bombs in October killed more than 100 people outside Ankara’s main train station as people gathered for a peace rally. The prosecutor’s office said Turkey’s deadliest attack was carried out by a local Islamic State cell.