A bomb ripped through a Turkish police bus near Istanbul’s historic centre Tuesday, killing seven officers and four civilians in the latest of a string of attacks in Turkey’s biggest city.
The car bomb targeted a bus carrying anti-riot police as it was passing through the central Beyazit district close to many of the city’s top tourist sites, Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said in a statement on Turkish television.
Thirty six people were wounded, three of them seriously, he added.
The attack had the hallmark of Kurdish militants who have repeatedly targeted the security forces but Islamic State jihadists have also staged several attacks in Turkish cities in the past year.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezneciler metro station, which is within walking distance of some of the city’s main tourist sites including the famed Suleymaniye Mosque.
The metro station was closed as a security precaution.
The bomb reduced the police vehicle to mangled wreckage and the windows of nearby shops were blown out by the force of the blast.
Cars parked in the vicinity were also damaged.
Television images showed bomb disposal experts examining the scene in case of a second unexploded bomb.
Scheduled examinations at Istanbul University — which lies close to the scene of the blast — have been cancelled.
Reports said that shots were heard.
The blast took place opposite an upscale hotel favoured by foreign tourists, the Celal Aga Konagi Hotel, a converted Ottoman mansion.
The loudspeakers on mosques were used to warn people to vacate the area, after which a controlled explosion was carried out on a suspicious vehicle.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was briefed by Istanbul governor as well as Interior Minister Efkan Ala on “the atrocious terror attack”, his office said in a statement.