Explosion on major Istanbul avenue kills 6; cause unclear

Turkish President Erdogan says bomb attack 'smells like terrorism'; media watchdog imposes temporary ban on reporting; Foreign Ministry says no reports of Israeli casualties

Associated Press|Updated:
Six people were killed and 81 others wounded on Sunday when an explosion rocked a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul in what Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called a bomb attack that "smells like terrorism".
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  • The cause of the blast on Istiklal Avenue was not immediately clear. Five prosecutors were assigned to investigate the explosion, state-run Anadolu news agency said.
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    זירת הפיצוץ באיסטנבול
    זירת הפיצוץ באיסטנבול
    Scene of the explosion in Istanbul, Turkey
    Erdogan told a news conference in Istanbul that the "efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish people through terrorism will fail today just as they did yesterday and as they will tomorrow."
    "Our people can rest assured that the culprits behind the attack will be punished as they deserve," he said, adding that initial information suggested "a woman played a part" in it.
    "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," he added.
    A video posted online showed flames erupting and a loud bang, as pedestrians turned and ran away.
    Other footage showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.
    2 View gallery
    זירת הפיצוץ באיסטנבול
    זירת הפיצוץ באיסטנבול
    The scene of the explosion
    (Photo: Twitter)
    Turkey's media watchdog imposed a temporary ban on reporting on the explosion — a move that prevents broadcasters from showing videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath. The Supreme Council of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks and accidents.
    Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya tweeted the death toll and said those hurt were being treated.
    Shir Kimchi, an Israeli national near the explosion scene, told Ynet: "We were at Taksim Square and heard an explosion."
    "About half a minute later people ran toward us. We were trying to figure out what happened, and then we heard a lot of sirens, and helicopters in the air. Now we are locked in a hotel some 300 meters from the square."
    The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that it was not familiar with any reports of Israeli casualties in the blast and the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul was in contact with local authorities.
    Nobody has claimed responsibility for the blast. Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by the Islamic State group and outlawed Kurdish groups.

    Itamar Eichner contributed to this report.
    First published: 16:50, 11.13.22
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