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Istanbul twin bomb attacks leave scores dead

Twin bomb attacks have rocked Istanbul, killing 29 people and wounding 166 more, says Turkey’s Interior Minister.

The first explosion was the result of a car bomb going off outside the Besiktas stadium on Saturday, while the second blast happened as an attacker blew himself up in a nearby park, said Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, while adding that 27 of those killed were police officers. 

A damaged vehicle is seen after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.

Soylu added that the stadium blast had targeted a police bus after a high profile football match.

“The explosion at Macka Park is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber," he noted.

He went on to say that 10 people have so far been detained in connection to the attacks.

Police forensic experts examine the scene after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, December 11, 2016.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told the CNN-Turk broadcaster, “I curse the murderers strongly."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was in the city when the blasts occurred, said that they were timed at the end of the match to cause the maximum amount of casualties.

An ambulance leaves the scene after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.

"An act of terror targeted our security forces and citizens at Besiktas tonight," said Erdogan, adding, “Unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded." 

"We have witnessed once more here in Istanbul the ugly face of terror which tramples down any form of value and morals," he added.

An injured policeman lies on a stretcher at the site of an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.

He further stressed that the name of the perpetrators of the vile attack is irrelevant. "Nobody should doubt that we will defeat terror, terror groups, terrorists and of course the forces behind them, with God's help," he added.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Sunday that militants with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) may have been behind the deadly explosions.

“The arrows point at the PKK. It is clearly a planned event. There will be an announcement once the investigations are over. We cannot say anything definite for now,” Kurtulmus said.

Police arrive at the site of an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.

Meanwhile, Turkish Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic also said via his Twitter account that "those attacking our nation's unity and solidarity will never win," while Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan referred to it as a terrorist attack.

The blasts were also condemned by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who called the attacks "horrific acts of terror."

Police extinguish a burning car using a water cannon after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016. 

Turkey has seen attacks on a host of targets over the past year and a half. Most of the bombing attacks have been blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other Kurdish groups. 

In June, at least 41 people were killed and some 240 more injured in a Daesh attack at Istanbul's main Ataturk Airport.

Turkey has also so been under a state of emergency since a failed military coup against the government in mid-July. Ankara has launched a heavy-handed crackdown against those suspected of having links with the coup plotters.


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