'Female suicide bomber' kills at least six and injures 81 in Istanbul blast

13 November 2022, 16:48 | Updated: 13 November 2022, 21:05

At least six people were killed in the alleged suicide blast
At least six people were killed in the alleged suicide blast. Picture: Getty

By Adam Solomons

A woman was seen sitting on a nearby bench for forty minutes, leaving moments before the blast.

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At least half a dozen people were killed when a bomb exploded on a busy Istanbul shopping street.

Eyewitnesses reported a female suicide bomber was behind the attack.

Turkish President Erdogan said the incident "smells like terrorism" as world leaders sent their condolences.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said a woman sat on a nearby bench for more than 40 minutes, leaving moments before the blast, suggesting the explosion was timed.

More than 80 were injured, with dozens of ambulances and police cars rushing to Istiklal Avenue near Taksim Square.

The bomb detonated at 4.13pm local time (1.13pm GMT), Reuters video shows.

The street was previously targeted by a suicide bomber in 2016.

Turkish President Erdogan told a news conference this afternoon: "Efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish people through terrorism will fail today just as they did yesterday and as they will fail again tomorrow.

"It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism."

A boy is separated from his parents in the wake of the explosion
A boy is separated from his parents in the wake of the explosion. Picture: Getty
A mother leads her son away from the damage
A mother leads her son away from the damage. Picture: Getty
Armed police officers patrol the streets in the wake of the attack
Armed police officers patrol the streets in the wake of the attack. Picture: Getty

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No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police helicopters and a crew of ambulances were spotted on the scene.

Horrific images of the site showed a crumpled pushchair and numerous bodies strewn on the ground.

Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya said: "According to initial reports, four people lost their lives and 38 were injured in the explosion that took place on Istiklal Street.

Parts of the pavement were still on fire after the explosion
Parts of the pavement were still on fire after the explosion. Picture: Getty
Forensic investigators inspect the rubble near Taksim Square
Forensic investigators inspect the rubble near Taksim Square. Picture: Getty

"We wish God's mercy on those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the injured. Developments will be shared with the public."

Later this afternoon the death toll was raised to six, with at least 81 injured.

European Council President Charles Michel sent condolences to victims after the "horrific news."

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky wrote this afternoon: "It is with deep sadness that I learned of the news that many lives were lost and injured in the explosion that took place on Istiklal Street.

"I offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

"The pain of the friendly Turkish people is our pain."

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