Twin bombings outside Istanbul football stadium: 29 killed

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Twin bombings outside Istanbul football stadium: 29 killed


Twin attacks by a suicide bomber and a car bomber near an Istanbul football stadium have killed 29 people and wounded 166 others in the latest large-scale assault to traumatise a nation confronting an array of security threats.

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Twin attacks by a suicide bomber and a car bomber near an Istanbul football stadium have killed 29 people and wounded 166 others in the latest large-scale assault to traumatise a nation confronting an array of security threats.

The bombs targeted police officers, killing 27 of them along with two civilians, Turkey's interior minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters. He added that 10 people had been arrested in connection with the "terrorist attack".

Twin bombings outside Istanbul football stadium: 29 killed

The civilian death toll was lower because fans had already left the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium after the match when the blasts occurred. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement: "We have once again witnessed tonight in Istanbul the ugly face of terror which tramples on every value and decency."

The first bomb went off just outside the facility known popularly as Besiktas Stadium after the local team and neighbourhood. The second blast that came moments later was attributed by authorities to a suicide bomber.

Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the stadium and ambulances began ferrying the wounded to hospital. Glass from the blown-out windows of nearby buildings littered the pavement.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. This year, Istanbul has witnessed a spate of attacks attributed by authorities to Islamic State or claimed by Kurdish militants. A state of emergency is in force following a failed July 15 coup attempt.

Mr Soylu acknowledged the country was struggling against "many elements" trying to compromise its fight against terrorism.

Turkey is a partner in the US-led coalition against IS and its armed forces are active in neighbouring Syria and Iraq. It is also facing a renewed conflict with an outlawed Kurdish movement in the south east.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Washington condemned the attack in "the strongest terms".

"We stand together with Turkey, our Nato ally, against all terrorists who threaten Turkey, the United States, and global peace and stability," Mr Price said.

The first and larger explosion took place after Besiktas beat visitors Bursaspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super League. Mr Erdogan said the timing of the attack aimed to maximise the loss of life and vowed the nation would overcome terrorism.

Mr Soylu said the first explosion was caused by a passing vehicle that detonated in an area where police special forces were located at the stadium exit right after the match. A riot police bus appears to have been the target.

Kurdish militants often target security forces while IS-linked attacks have targeted tourists and the broader public.

Deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said a person who had been stopped in the nearby Macka Park committed suicide by triggering explosives.

Investigators, including Istanbul Police Chief Mustafa Caliskan, were quickly on the scene. Forensic experts in white uniforms scoured the vicinity of the stadium and the vast park where the suicide bombing took place.

The Besiktas sports club "strongly condemned" the attack and said an employee of one of its stores was among the fatalities, as well as a member of its congress who was responsible for security at the stadium.

Bursaspor reported that none of the wounded were its fans and issued a statement wishing "a speedy recovery to our wounded citizens".

AP

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