‘Female bomber’ is blamed for blast that kills at least six people and injures 81 on busy Istanbul street in on Sunday afternoon
Authorities in Turkey on Monday announced they have arrested Istanbul bomb blast suspect, a Syrian woman named Alham Albashir, adding that she was working for Kurdish militants PKK
Syrian Woman Planted Istanbul bomb that killed 6, Turkish authorities said, in a Suspected terrorist attack Sunday afternoon on a busy street in Istanbul’s popular pedestrian shopping district
Four people died at the scene and two succumbed to injuries in hospital, with the toll expected to increase, also left 81 people who were hospitalized, 50 were discharged
Turkish justice minister had announced that investigators were looking into a woman who left the scene moments before blast
21 others arrested earlier after fireball explosion ripped through packed shopping district popular with tourists on Sunday
Turkish President Erdogan said the blast had ‘the smell of a terrorist attack’ and vowed to punish perpetrators
Authorities in Turkey Istanbul police arrested Istanbul bomb blast suspect, a Syrian woman named Alham Albashir, on Monday.
She is alleged to be the ‘female bomber’ who planted and set off the bomb in central Istanbul On Sunday. The blast caused a huge explosion in a popular shopping street in Istanbul today that killed at least six people and injured 81 others, Turkish officials have claimed.
The bomb went off Sunday on Istiklal Street, close to Taksim Square, popular with both locals and tourists and lined with shops and restaurants.
Visited daily by thousands of people, Istiklal Avenue was packed with people when the blast rang out at around 4:20pm local time.
Turkish police on Monday said they had arrested a Syrian woman for planting a bomb that killed six people in central Istanbul, adding that she was working for Kurdish militants.
The woman is “of Syrian nationality,” the private NTV television quoted the police as saying. She reportedly admitted to have received an order from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Shocking videos posted online showed the moment a fireball erupted on the street amid a loud blast as pedestrians turned and fled in horror.
Istanbul police arrested Istanbul bomb blast suspect, Syrian woman named Alham Albashir, on Monday
Other harrowing clips showed bodies and an empty pushchair lying on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the explosion before the scene was cordoned off by forensic teams.
Four people died at the scene, with another two succumbing to their injuries in hospital, and it is feared casualty numbers will increase.
Turkish justice minister Bekir Bozdag told pro-government broadcaster A Haber that investigators were looking into a woman who sat on a bench by the scene of the blast for about 40 minutes. The explosion took place just minutes after she left, suggesting the attack may not have been authored by a suicide bomber.
“A woman had been sitting on one of the benches for more than 40 minutes and then she got up, Bozdag said.
“One or two minutes later, an explosion occurred.
“There are two possibilities,” he said.
“There’s either a mechanism and it explodes, or someone remotely explodes (it). All data on this woman are currently under scrutiny,” The justice minister added.
Giving an update on Monday Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said: “The person who did this. The person who planted the bomb has been taken into custody by Istanbul police,” adding “21 others had been earlier taken into custody.”
The minister thanked all those who took part in the search and rescue operation.
Soylu said the order for the attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue was given in Kobani, a city in northern Syria, where Turkish forces have carried out operations against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in recent years.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who left the country earlier today for the upcoming G20 summit, said the explosion had the ‘smell’ of a terror attack.
He did not specify who may have been behind the explosion but stated a woman was thought to have been involved. In a televised statement he said: ‘Our nation should be sure that the perpetrators of the incident on Istiklal Street will be punished as they deserve.
‘It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism… Efforts to take over Turkey and the Turkish nation through terrorism will not reach its goal.’
Vice President Fuat Oktay meanwhile visited the scene alongside interior minster Suleyman Soylu, also declaring the blast appeared to have been authored by a female bomber.
Oktay said: ‘We believe that it is a terrorist act carried out by an attacker, whom we consider to be a woman, exploding the bomb.’
No one has yet claimed responsibility, though Istanbul and other Turkish cities have been targeted in the past by Kurdish separatists, Islamist militants and other groups. However, Bozdag said evidence obtained pointed to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and to its Syrian extension, the Democratic Union Party, or PYD.
The PKK has fought an insurgency in Turkey since 1984.
He vowed that the attack would be avenged: “We know what message those who carried out this action want to give us. We got this message,” Soylu said.
“Don’t worry, we will pay them back heavily in return.”
Soylu said of the 81 people who were hospitalized, 50 were discharged.
Five of the wounded were receiving emergency care and two of them were in life-threatening condition, he said on Monday.
Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down as forensic teams and emergency services moved in to examine the scene. But by evening, the avenue was buzzing with tourists and onlookers and some shops stayed open in a show of defiance.
A helicopter flew above the scene and a number of ambulances were parked in nearby Taksim Square. The Turkish Red Crescent said blood was being transferred to nearby hospitals.
Vice President Oktay said: ‘We are evaluating it as an act of terror’.
Sunday’s carnage be the first major bomb blast in Istanbul in several years.
Twin bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium in December 2016 killed 38 people and wounded 155 in an attack claimed by an offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Condemnations of the attack and condolences for the victims rolled in from several countries.
Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Twitter: ‘My condolences to those who lost their lives in the explosion on Istiklal Avenue.’
Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by the so-called Islamic State group and outlawed Kurdish groups.
Footage from the scene showed the bodies of one child and one man mortally wounded.
The very same street that suffered today’s attack was previously targeted by a suicide bomber six years ago.
In March 2016 a bomb was detonated on the same street in Istanbul, Istiklal Avenue, as the explosion on Sunday. Five people, including the bomber, died in that incident.
It is believed ISIS was behind the attack – which killed five people, including perpetrator, and injured thirty, including seven whose injuries were severe.
Istanbul attacker detonated bomb on Istiklal Avenue in 2016 killing five