ISTANBUL: On Sunday, a bomb shook a busy pedestrian street in the centre of Istanbul, leaving six people dead. Around 81 people were reportedly injured, and many more were seen fleeing from the explosion.
At a news conference in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the attack as a “treacherous attack,” saying that “the smell of terror” was present in the air. He also promised to punish the perpetrators.
In footage shared on social media that purports to show the explosion, a small fireball can be seen on Istiklal Avenue, a broad, historic pedestrian street in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, along with tourists and shoppers shouting and scurrying away in terror.
The explosion occurred at 4:13 p.m. (1313 GMT), as seen in the video footage.
Vice President Fuat Oktay visited the scene hours after the explosion to provide the most recent fatality and injury toll and made a “very soon” vow to tackle the issue.
Authorities later revealed that two of the victims were a federal ministry employee and his daughter. Two of the five patients in intensive care were in a critical state.
The explosion’s perpetrator has not yet been identified. Kurdish separatists, Islamist militants, and other groups have previously targeted Istanbul and other Turkish cities, including in a wave of attacks in 2015 and 2016.
Erdogan stated at a press conference before taking off for Indonesia for a summit of the G-20 leading economies, “Efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish people through terrorism will fail today just as they did yesterday and as they will tomorrow.”
“Our people can rest assured that the culprits… will be punished as they deserve,” he said, adding that the “initial information suggested a woman played a part” in it.
He continued, “It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack, but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor are that it smells like terrorism.”
As the media witnessed, many store owners on the typically busy street who were standing at their entrances were stunned. They said that the occurrence probably shocked many people in the city.
Turkey has received condolences from all across the world following the attack.
According to a statement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the US stated that it stood “shoulder to shoulder” with its NATO members in “countering terrorism.”
“We share your pain… We are with you in the fight against terrorism,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a tweet in Turkish.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, stated in a tweet that was also written in Turkish: “The grief of the friendly Turkish people is our pain.”
Greece, Italy, Pakistan, and other nations also showed their solidarity.
One of the city’s main thoroughfares, Istiklal Street, which is usually crowded with shoppers, was previously the target of a suicide bomber in 2016.