Turkey blast rips through Istanbul center Taksim Square
A bomb exploded on a popular pedestrian street in Istanbul on Sunday, killing six people, wounding dozens and sending people fleeing as flames rose.
Footage posted online showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene on Istiklal Avenue, a typically crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals and lined with shops and restaurants.
In one video, a loud bang could be heard and flames could be seen, as pedestrians turned and ran away.
Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blast a “treacherous attack” and said its perpetrators would be punished. In addition to the six dead, Erdogan said another 53 were wounded, according to information he received from the Istanbul governor.
Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by the Islamic State group and outlawed Kurdish groups.
Five prosecutors were assigned to investigate the blast, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Turkey’s media watchdog imposed temporary restrictions on reporting on the explosion — a move that bans the use of close-up videos and photos of the blast and its aftermath.
The Supreme Council of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks and accidents.
PM, president express grief
President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday expressed their condolences to Turkiye over the loss of precious lives in Istanbul blast.
On his Twitter handle, the prime minister expressed his deep anguish over the explosion at Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul and conveyed condolences to the brotherly people of Turkiye on the part of the government of Pakistan and its people.
The prime minister also prayed for the speedy recovery of those who had been injured in the explosion.
“I have learned with deep anguish about the explosion at popular Istiklal avenue in the heart of Istanbul. Govt & people of Pakistan express deepest condolences to the brotherly people of Turkiye at the loss of precious lives & send prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured,” he posted a tweet.
The president strongly condemned the explosion and expressed solidarity with the government and people of Turkiye over the incident. He said that they shared grief with the people of Turkiye.
He said that terrorism was a collective issue of the world.
The president prayed for the departed souls and for the bereaved families to bear the loss with fortitude, President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release.
He also prayed for the quick recovery of the injured people.