Istanbul, Turkey – A suicide attacker detonated a bomb on Istanbul’s main pedestrian shopping street on Saturday, killing five people, the city’s governor said. Twenty other people were injured in the attack. The attacker was among the dead.
Governor Vasip Sahin said the explosion occurred outside a local government office on Istiklal Street, which is also home to cafes, restaurants and foreign consulate buildings. Sahin said one of wounded victims died in hospital. The private Dogan news agency said at least three of the injured are Israeli nationals.
Police sealed off the area and a forensic team was at the scene.
Turkey was already on edge following two recent suicide car bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group, which is an off-shoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The most recent attack, on March 13, targeted a line of bus stops on Ankara’s busiest street and killed 37 including two bombers.
“It was one loud explosion,” said Muhammed Fatur, a Syrian who works at a butcher shop near the scene of Saturday’s explosion. “Police came to the scene and sealed off the area.”
The suicide bombing killed two Israeli citizens, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said a third Israeli citizen may have been killed in the blast. He said Israel was trying to determine whether Israelis were targeted, but there was no indication that was the case so far.
The White House says two Americans were among those killed. Their identities were not released, but an Israeli diplomat in Istanbul says they held dual Israeli citizenship.