Eleven people have been killed and 36 injured in a bomb attack targeting a police vehicle in central Istanbul, the Turkish city’s governor has said.
The blast occurred at a busy junction in the Beyazit district, near an Istanbul University building, and was caused by a bomb placed inside a car that was detonated as the police vehicle passed by, Vasip Şahin said.
Seven of the dead were police officers, and three of the injured were in a critical condition, he added.
The police bus was overturned by the force of the blast, which also damaged nearby buildings and cars. A hotel’s entrance appeared gutted and windows had been blown out.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and Şahin would not comment on who may have been behind the attack.
Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, condemned the attack, which occurred on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. “They [the attackers] are cold-heartedly exploding bombs on a Ramadan day,” he said in a television interview.
The country is on high security alert after two deadly attacks in Istanbul this year blamed on Islamic State jihadis, and twin attacks in Ankara that killed dozens and were claimed by Kurdish militants.
The Ankara attacks were claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a radical splinter group of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK). PKK rebels have been targeting police and military targets since July when a fragile peace process collapsed.
— hONoUR (@Jakoben1789) June 7, 2016
The PKK is fighting for autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds in the south-east of the country. It has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state in a conflict that has claimed 40,000 lives. The group is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its allies.