ISTANBUL (Today’s Zaman) — An explosion believed to have been caused by a suicide bombing rocked Istanbul’s central Sultanahmet Square, a major tourist attraction, on Tuesday, January 12, leaving 10 people dead and 15 wounded. Officials said most of those killed were German nationals.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack appears to have been carried out by a “Syrian-origin” suicide bomber.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that all of those killed in the attack are foreign nationals. He also said that the suicide bomber is a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Dogan news agency reported that the suicide bomber has been identified as Saudi Arabian-born Nabil Fadli.
Kurtulmus also said that in a separate statement that the suicide bomber is thought to have recently crossed into Turkey from Syria and was not on Turkey’s watch list of suspected militants.
Ambulances rushed to the site, which is close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, ferrying away the wounded as police cordoned off streets.
The Istanbul governor’s office said the authorities were investigating the type of explosive used and who might have been responsible.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed a temporary media ban on coverage of the explosion after a demand from the Prime Ministry.
The European Union expressed support with Turkey, saying it stands with Turkey in the fight “against all forms of terrorism” after the explosion in the heart of İstanbul.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that both sides “must step up our efforts to counter extremist violence” and noted that this had been set as a priority at a November EU-Turkey summit in Brussels.
The US Embassy said Ambassador John Bass is closely following the reports of the explosion in Sultanahmet in a post on its Twitter account. “Our thoughts are with those affected…,” the ambassador quoted as saying.