(CTN News) – Turkish officials have reported that an explosion in a crowded location in downtown Istanbul resulted in at least six fatalities and 81 injuries.
The explosion occurred on a retail street near Taksim Square at about 16:20 local time (13:20 GMT), according to Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of the Turkish city.
According to vice president Fuat Oktay, the explosion was likely the result of a female terrorist act.
The offenders will face punishment, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He denounced the “vile assault” and said that “the stench of terror” was at a press conference in Istanbul.
Bekir Bozdag, the justice minister, told Turkish media that a lady had been sitting on a seat nearby for more than 40 minutes before departing soon before the explosion.
The explosion has not yet been assigned a perpetrator.
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A government official named Derya Yanik tweeted that two fatalities were a worker for a government ministry and his young daughter.
Istiklal Street has been sealed off, and according to BBC journalist Orla Guerin who is in the vicinity, there was a significant police presence in the area. Ambulances were moving back and forth while helicopters flew above.
She said that several store owners standing at their doors in the typically busy area were astonished and that the episode would have shocked many people in the city.
When the explosion occurred, Hayat was inside an internet café on Istiklal Street. She said that there was a commotion in the area.
She recalled seeing people racing about and injured individuals walking past the internet café on their way to the hospital. “There was an uproar,”
Cemal Denizci, another witness, was around 50 metres (54 yards) away when the explosion occurred. “The smoke was dark. The explosion was so loud that it was almost deafening, “He informed AFP.
Following the incident, 20-year-old Eyup told Reuters that “there is panic” among Istanbul locals and said that more people might avoid busy locations like Taksim.
Turkey has received condolences from all across the globe in the aftermath of the tragedy.
According to a statement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the US stands “shoulder to arm” with its NATO member in “countering terrorism.”
“We feel your grief… We are with you in the battle against terrorism,” French president Emmanuel Macron stated in a tweet in Turkish.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, said in a tweet that was also written in Turkish: “The grief of the brotherly Turkish people is our pain.”
Greece, Italy, Pakistan, and other nations also showed their sympathy.
One of the city’s major thoroughfares, Istiklal Street, which is often crowded with shoppers, was previously the target of a suicide bomber in 2016.
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