German tourists killed in apparent Istanbul suicide bombing

ISTANBUL -- A suicide bomber affiliated with the Islamic State group detonated a bomb in a historic district of Istanbul popular with tourists Tuesday morning, killing at least 10 people -- nine of them German tourists -- and wounding 15 others, Turkish officials said.

See Full Article

The bomber who carried out the attack in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district was a 28-year-old Syrian national, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the perpetrator was a member of IS and pledged to battle the militant group until it no longer "remains a threat" to Turkey or the world.

Turkey's state-run news agency said Davutoglu held a telephone conversation with German chancellor Angela Merkel to express his condolences. A senior government official confirmed that most of the victims were German. Merkel had earlier said they were part of a German travel group.

"I strongly condemn the terror incident that occurred in Istanbul, at the Sultanahmet Square, and which has been assessed as being an attack by a Syria-rooted suicide bomber," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

It was unclear whether the death toll of 10 included the alleged bomber.

Merkel, speaking at a news conference in Berlin, decried the attack.

"Today Istanbul was hit; Paris has been hit, Tunisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit before," she said. "International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today."

The explosion, which could be heard from several neighbourhoods, was at a park that is home to a landmark obelisk, some 25 metres from the historic Blue Mosque.

Turkey's Dogan news agency reported that one Norwegian and one Peruvian were also among the wounded, and Seoul's Foreign Ministry told reporters via text message that a South Korean had a finger injury. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry told news agency NTB that the Norwegian tourist was slightly hurt and was being treated in a local hospital.

Kurtulmus, the deputy premier, said two of the wounded were in serious condition.

Germany and Denmark have warned their citizens to avoid crowds outside tourist attractions in Istanbul.

Last year, Turkey agreed to take a more active role in the U.S.-led battle against the IS group. Turkey opened its bases to U.S. aircraft to launch air raids on the extremist group in Syria and has carried out a limited number of strikes on the group itself.

It has also moved to tighten security along its 900-kilometre border with Syria in a bid to stem the flow of militants.

The attack comes at a time of heightened violence between Turkey's security forces and militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in the country's mostly-Kurdish southeast.

The country is also dealing with more than 2 million Syrian refugees and a wave of migrants from Syria and other countries pouring across Turkey to Europe.

Police sealed the area, barring people from approaching in case of a second explosion, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

The Sultanahmet neighbourhood is Istanbul's main sightseeing area and includes the Topkapi Palace and the former Byzantine church of Haghia Sophia, now a museum.

Erdem Koroglu, who was working at a nearby office, told NTV television he saw several people 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."

Davutoglu immediately convened a security meeting with the country's interior minister and other officials.

As with previous attacks, authorities imposed a news blackout, barring media from showing images of the dead or injured or reporting any details of the investigation.

Turkey suffered two major bombing attacks last year, both blamed on the Islamic State group.

More than 30 people were killed in a suicide attack in the town of Suruc, near Turkey's border with Syria, in July.

Two suicide bombs exploded in October outside Ankara's main train station as people gathered for a peace rally, killing more than 100 in Turkey's deadliest-ever attack. The prosecutor's office said that attack was carried out by a local IS cell.

Last month, Turkish authorities arrested two suspected IS militants they said were planning suicide bombings during New Year's celebrations in the capital Ankara.

Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Mehmet Guzel in Istanbul, Kirsten Grieshaber and Geir Moulson in Berlin and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Calgary girl, 3, in desperate need of expensive cancer treatment

    Canada News CTV News
    If music could cure cancer, three-year-old Greta Marofke wouldn't have any problem. As it stands, the little tyke and her parents are now significantly closer to paying for costly surgery that could save her life, thanks to the efforts of the Calgary community this weekend. Source
  • 'We want to bring them home': Fort Chipewyan continues search for missing hunters

    Canada News CBC News
    Hunters from Fort Chipewyan, Alta., usually start their spring hunt each April. South winds warm the air, the ice on Lake Athabasca melts, the rivers begin to flow and hunters head to their trap lines. Source
  • Canadian minimum wage workers say they're surviving rather than living

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - Erendira Achati Keriti needed winter clothes, but she knew she couldn't afford to buy them new. She managed to save enough money to buy second-hand garments, only to find they'd already been snapped up by the time she made it back to the thrift store. Source
  • Famed Swiss climber Ueli Steck killed near Mount Everest in Nepal

    World News Toronto Sun
    KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Swiss climber acclaimed for his rapid ascents — including scaling dozens of peaks in the Alps in a little more than two months — was killed Sunday in a mountaineering accident near Mount Everest in Nepal, expedition organizers said. Source
  • N.S. premier calls an election

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has called a provincial election for May 30, seeking a second consecutive mandate from voters. McNeil dropped the writ this afternoon after meeting with Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant at Government House in Halifax. Source
  • Suspected U.S. airstrike kills 4 al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen

    World News CTV News
    SANAA, Yemen -- A suspected U.S. airstrike killed four al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen's eastern province of Marib on Sunday, Yemeni tribal and security officials said. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, say the operatives killed were driving a car when an unmanned aircraft targeted their vehicle. Source
  • Tornadoes, flooding kill at least 6 in parts of U.S. South, Midwest [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANTON, Texas — Severe storms including tornadoes have swept through several small towns in East Texas, leaving a trail of overturned vehicles, mangled trees and damaged homes. Authorities believe at least four people were killed and dozens injured, though they were still assessing the damage from the storms that swept through an area about 50 miles (80 kilometres) east of Dallas on Saturday evening. Source
  • Emotional encounter between organ recipient and donor family

    Canada News CTV News
    On Saturday Saskatoon’s Jillian Langen, 28, finally met the family of the person who saved her life. “It’s almost like meeting family that you didn’t know you had,” Langen told CTV Saskatoon. Langen had been suffering from cystic fibrosis which had destroyed her lungs when she received a double lung transplant from 23-year-old Leanne Germain, who had died in Feb. Source
  • Trump warns North Korea's missiles will get better

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- U.S. President Donald Trump said after North Korea's latest failed rocket launch that communist leader Kim Jong-Un will eventually develop better missiles, and "we can't allow it to happen." In a taped interview broadcast Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," the president would not discuss the possibility of military action, saying: "It is a chess game. Source
  • Donald Trump: Kim Jong Un 'a pretty smart cookie' for being able to hold onto power

    World News Toronto Sun
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — U.S. President Donald Trump said in a television interview to be aired Sunday that he believes China’s president has been putting pressure on North Korea as it pursues its missile and nuclear weapons programs. Source