A large explosion which rocked central Istanbul today left several people dead and wounded, television channels in Turkey including NTV reported, but they did not provide an exact figure for the casualties.
10 dead, 15 injured following blast in Istanbul, Turkey, says Governor’s office.
The explosion occurred at about 10.20am local time on Tuesday morning.
A witness told a Reuters correspondent that there were body parts at the scene in Sultanahmet square, a major tourist attraction. A police officer confirmed the witness’ account.
The state-run Anadolu Agency says several police and medics were sent to the area. The private Dogan news agency says at least two people were hospitalized following an explosion in the historic center of Istanbul.
State-run TRT television says the blast was likely caused by a suicide bomber, but authorities have not commented on the cause.
Ambulances rushed to the site in Sultanahmet square, close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, in a major tourist area of Turkey’s most populous city, ferrying away the wounded as police cordoned off streets.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Police are reportedly taking extra measures to protect people against the possibility of a second explosion.
Al Jazeera‘s Emre Rende, reporting from Istanbul, said information was scarce immediately after the blast.
“Eyewitnesses have said that the blast was heard from other neighbourhoods,” he said.
Erdem Koroglu, who was working at a nearby office at the time of the explosion, told NTV television he saw several people lying on the ground following the blast.
“It was difficult to say who was alive or dead,” Koroglu said. “Buildings rattled from the force of the explosion.”