Blasts outside football stadium kill 29 in Turkey
December 11th, 2016 at 11:49 am
Blasts outside football stadium kill 29 in Turkey

International desk – At least 29 people have been killed and 166 others wounded after two bombs blasted near a football stadium in Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, officials said on Sunday.

The explosions, believed to be a car bomb and a suicide bomb, targeted police officers, according to a BBC report.

The broadcaster quoted witnesses who reported gunfire after the attack, which came two hours after fans had left the Besiktas stadium.

Ten arrests were made. Turkey has seen a recent spate of deadly militant attacks in major cities.

No group has claim responsibility for the attack but a wave of bombings in Turkey this year has been carried out by Kurdish militants and so-called Islamic State (IS).

The fact that police appear to have been hit will focus suspicion on Kurdish militant groups, who have mainly targeted the security forces, he adds.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed fatalities but gave no details.

“A terrorist attack has been carried out against our security forces and our citizens,” he said.

“It has been understood that the explosions after the Besiktas-Bursaspor football game aimed to maximise casualties. As a result of these attacks unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded.”

The blasts came two hours after a football match at the Vodafone Arena between Besiktas and Bursaspor, two of Turkey’s top teams, ended.

Local media reported that fans had already dispersed. Bursaspor posted on Twitter that none of its groups knew of any injured fans.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said: “It is thought to be a car bomb at a point where our special forces police were located, right after the match at the exit where Bursaspor fans exited, after the fans had left.”

He later said the second blast, at nearby Macka Park, was believed to be a suicide bomb.

TV channel NTV reported that the target of the first attack was a bus carrying riot police.

Photographs posted on Instagram after the explosion showed helmets strewn on a road and damaged vehicles.

A police helicopter circled overhead and windows in nearby buildings were blown out by the force of the blasts.

Deadly attacks in Turkey this year

20 August: Bomb attack on wedding party in Gaziantep kills at least 30 people, IS suspected

30 July: 35 Kurdish fighters who try to storm a military base are killed by the Turkish army

29 June: A gun and bomb attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul kills 41 people, in an attack blamed on IS militants.

13 March: 37 people are killed by Kurdish militants in a suicide car bombing in Ankara

17 February: 28 people die in an attack on a military convoy in Ankara