Istanbul bomb explosion leaves several dead and at least 53 injured

At least six people have died after an explosion in Istanbul. Another 53 were left injured after the blast, which took place at around 2.20pm local time (1.20pm GMT) on a shopping street in the Taksim Square area. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the explosion a “bomb attack” and said six people were killed and 53 wounded.

Speaking before his departure to the G20 summit in Indonesia, Mr Erdogan said the explosion was a “treacherous attack” and its perpetrators would be punished.

Istanbul’s governor Ali Yerlikaya also said on Twitter: “Unfortunately, in the explosion that took place on Istiklal Street today, the number of dead increased to six and the number of injured to 53.

“We wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the injured.”

Footage on social media showed people running following an explosion on the busy street, at least one person appeared seriously injured and there was blood on the street.

Reuters is reporting that at least one person died in the blast.

Footage showed a significant amount of ambulances and police on the scene, some of whom appeared attempting to keep people back from the area.

People on social media reported fatalities as a result of the blast.

Mr Yerlikaya said earlier: “Today, at around 16.20, an explosion occurred in Taksim Istiklal Street in our Beyoğlu district. Our police, health, fire and AFAD teams were sent to the scene.

“There are casualties and injuries. Developments will be shared with the public.”

Media have been banned from filming in the area of the blasts, and police had cordoned off the area due to fears of a second explosion, according to local media.

However, Mehmet Akus, 45, a worker in a restaurant on Istiklal, told Reuters: “When I heard the explosion, I was petrified, people froze, looking at each other. Then people started running away. What else can you do.

“My relatives called me, they know I work on Istiklal. I reassured them.”

Five prosecutors have been assigned to investigate the explosion, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Istanbul was rocked by a series of bomb blasts between 2015 and 2017, carried out by the Islamic State and Kurdish Groups outlawed in the country.

The busy street shopping was the target of a suicide bomber in 2016.

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