Saturday, 19 March 2016

Turkey:Istanbul shopping area hit by suicide bomber

A suicide bomb attack at a busy shopping area in the Turkish city of Istanbul has killed at least four people, 
officials say.

Another 36 were injured - 12 foreign nationals - as the bomb went off near a government building on Istiklal Street. 
No-one has admitted carrying out the attack, the latest to target Turkey in recent months. 

The Turkish government has blamed Kurdish militants for previous attacks and has retaliated against them.  
Last week, Kurdish rebel group TAK admitted killing 35 people in the capital, Ankara, saying it was in revenge for 
Turkish military operations against Kurds.  
Last month, a bomb attack on a military convoy in Ankara killed 28 people and wounded dozens more.

Medics rushed to try to help a wounded man(below)Medics try to help wounded people after an explosion in Istiklal Street in Istanbul
Turkish police, forensics and emergency services, work at the blast scene.
Turkish police, forensics and emergency services work at the blast scene.....
In October 2015, more than 100 people were killed in a double suicide bombing at a 
Kurdish peace rally in Ankara.

Saturday's attack in Istanbul - Turkey's largest city, occurred at about 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT).Uwes Shehadeh was some 500m away when he heard "a horrific and horrible noise".

"People didn't know what was going on. It was very chaotic. Everyone was screaming and running away,"......

"Istanbul is on high alert and people are very worried as to what will happen next." Three Israeli tourists were among those injured, local media report say.  The Israeli foreign ministry has confirmed Israelis were wounded, but not given the number or said what condition they are in.

Both the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants have claimed recent attacks in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said terror groups are targeting civilians because they are  losing their struggle against Turkish security forces. Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against IS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at  Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.

It has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the  People's Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as a extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers 
Party (PKK).

A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down last summer.  Since then, more than 340 members of Turkey's security forces have been killed along with at least 300 Kurdish fighters and more than 200 civilians.