At least four dead and several injured after explosion in Istanbul

IAccording to Turkish media reports, there was a strong explosion in the center of Istanbul on Sunday afternoon.

At least four people were killed and 38 injured in the explosion on Istanbul’s Istiklal shopping street. The governor of the Turkish metropolis, Ali Yerlikaya, tweeted this on Sunday. According to Yerlikaya, the explosion happened at 4:20 p.m. local time. Rescue workers and the police are on site in large numbers, the state broadcaster TRT reported. Helicopters flew over Beyoglu and neighboring districts in the early evening.

The cause of the explosion was initially unclear. On recordings on the online networks, a powerful bang is heard, followed by flames. The images also show a large, black crater and several people lying on the ground.

Shortly after the accident, the Turkish media initially did not report on the explosion. The Turkish broadcasting authority Rtük imposed a temporary news ban on the media. Reports of the explosion should be avoided so as not to cause fear and panic among the population, the letter said in the afternoon. The broadcasters CNN Türk and TRT, for example, then interrupted their reports on the explosion on the popular shopping street.

The explosion immediately caused panic among visitors to the shopping street. The area was immediately evacuated. People in the city were urged to avoid the area. Surrounding streets should also be kept free of traffic.

The street is a tourist hotspot in the center of the European part of the Turkish metropolis, which is often crowded even on Sundays.

In 2015 and 2016, Istanbul was the target of a bloody campaign of attacks to which the jihadist militia Islamic State claimed responsibility. In 2016, a suicide bomber blew himself up on Istiklal, killing four people and injuring 39 others.

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