Beirut – Istanbul: At least 11 people, including seven police officers, were killed on Tuesday in a bomb attack targeting a police vehicle in central Istanbul area of Fatih.
The attack, which is the fourth major bombing in Istanbul this year, was blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an armed struggle against the Turkish authorities with the aim to establish an independent Kurdish state in south-east Turkey.
While Turkish authorities announced that another car bomb was found in the city of Muş in eastern Turkey, President Tayyip Erdogan said that the country’s fight against armed groups would continue to the end. He also accused the outlawed organization of carrying out the attack.
Four people were detained on Tuesday in Istanbul in connection with the bombing which occurred in the Vezneciler neighborhood in Fatih area targeting a police bus. The explosion led to the killing of 11 people, including seven police officers, and the wounding of around 36 others.
Speaking at the blast scene, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said that the bomb, which was placed inside a car, detonated as a police vehicle passed by.
Speaking at a press conference after visiting the injured at a hospital located near the explosion site, Erdogan said that his country was determined to continue the fight against terrorist organizations to the end. He added that the Turkish police, intelligence services and the judicial authorities were carrying out intensive investigations to reveal the identity of the perpetrators.
While Tuesday’s explosion occurred in the wake of threats by the PKK to target Turkish cities, Erdogan said that the organization had already carried out attacks in Diyarbakir, Ankara and Istanbul.
He added that his country was taking appropriate measures, as terrorists might perpetrate attacks anywhere and anytime.
World and Arab leaders strongly condemned Tuesday’s blast in Istanbul.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain condemned the terrorist explosion which took place in Istanbul and extended its sincere condolences to the government of Turkey and its heartfelt consolation to the relatives and families of the victims.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry wished quick healing to all the injured in the terrorist act and reiterated the solidarity of the Kingdom of Bahrain with Turkey in fighting terrorism in all its forms.
Egypt also condemned the explosion that rocked the Turkish city on Tuesday. A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said that Egypt “stands by the Turkish people in this crucial moment.” It also expressed Egypt’s condolences to the families’ victims and wishes for a fast recovery for the injured.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that NATO stands in solidarity with Turkey and added: “I firmly condemn this morning’s terrorist attack targeting a police vehicle in Istanbul, which killed a number of people, including police officers, and injured many others.”
Stoltenberg also decried how Turkey was once again struck by the “scourge” of terrorism. “Terrorism seeks to undermine the very values that the North Atlantic Alliance stands for: democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law. It can never be tolerated or justified,” he added.
The European Union also released a statement saying: “We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those killed today and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. As the European Union, we reiterate our continuing solidarity to Turkey, its government and its people and reaffirm our commitment to work closely together to fight the global threat of terrorism.”