Suicide bomber wounds 22 at Istanbul’s main square | Pakistan Today

Suicide bomber wounds 22 at Istanbul’s main square

ISTANBUL: A suspected suicide bomber targeting Turkish police wounded 22 people in the centre of Istanbul on Sunday. No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack, officials said, though the city has been targeted by Kurdish separatist militants, al Qaeda and other groups in the past.
“It was a suicide bomb and it appears as if the bomber blew himself up. It appears to be a male body,” Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin told reporters. Twelve civilians and 10 policemen were wounded in the attack in Taksim Square, Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters.
The blast occurred in mid morning, next to a Republic Monument commemorating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and victory in the war of independence in 1923. The police presence in Taksim is usually beefed up around national holidays like Republic Day, which was celebrated on Friday.
Cell phone footage taken just after the explosion showed a woman lying close to the monument bleeding from her leg, and a policeman also lying with blood streaming from his head. A taxi driver told CNN Turk news channel he saw a 30 to 33 year-old man approach the police to ask directions, at which point the bomb detonated.
Another witness said two men had approached the police. CNN-Turk said a second bomb was found close to the dead bomber, but state-run Anatolian news agency said parts of a bomb were found and it was unclear if it was part of the exploded bomb or a second device.
Taksim square is a major tourist attraction and transport hub, surrounded by restaurants, shops and hotels, and at the heart of modern Istanbul. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was visiting Mardin, in the mainly Kurdish southeast, when the blast struck his hometown.
“Those who threaten Turkey’s peace, security and development will not be tolerated,” he said in a televised speech. “These kinds of attacks will not stop Turkey reaching its goals of peace, brotherhood and development. We are together, we are brothers.” Istanbul is the business and financial centre of Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 75 million people that is hoping to become a member of the European Union.
The city has been targeted before by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels, but the separatist group extended a unilateral ceasefire last month, and on Saturday said it would announce in the coming days whether to extend if further. The PKK have used for suicide bombers attacks on security forces in the past, but not for many years.

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