Attacker thought to be part of the Islamic State but this is unconfirmed. The blast ripped Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square, near the iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia — among the world’s most visited tourist sites — reportedly killing 10 and injuring 15.
France24 Witnesses reported hearing a loud blast at the square, and video footage showed police and ambulances at the scene shortly after the attack.
Reporting from Istanbul, FRANCE 24’s Jasper Mortimer said Turkish authorities had identified the suicide bomber as “a Syrian man who would have turned 28 this year. Turkish officials say there is a high probability he worked for the Islamic State group, and of the three militant groups operating in Turkey at the moment, it is the Islamic State group that has been carrying out most of the bombings in public places recently.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack in a speech to Turkish ambassadors in the capital, Ankara, which was broadcast live on national TV.
“I condemn the terror incident in Istanbul, assessed to be an attack by a suicide bomber with Syrian origin,” said Erdogan.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Islamic State (IS) group was responsible for the suicide attack. He identified the 10 victims as foreign tourists, mostly German nationals.
Davutoglu said he spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel hours after the attack and had expressed his condolences.
— Murat Çekiç (@muratcekic) January 12, 2016