A car laden with bomb ripped through a Turkish police bus near Istanbul’s historic centre on Tuesday morning, killing seven officers and four civilians in the latest of a string of attacks in Turkey’s biggest city.
Confirming the incident in a statement on Turkish television, the Governor of Istanbul, Vasip Sahin, said that the car bomb targeted a bus shuttle service carrying anti-riot police as it was passing through the central Beyazit district close to many of the city’s top tourist sites.
“Thirty-six people were wounded, three of them seriously,” he added.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pointed to the involvement of separatist Kurdish militants.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and one of its offshoots have claimed attacks on Turkish security forces before.
Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezneciler metro station, which is within walking distance of some of the city’s main tourist sites including the famed Suleymaniye Mosque.
The metro station was closed as a security precaution.
The bomb reduced the police vehicle to mangled wreckage and the windows of nearby shops were blown out by the force of the blast.
It is said that Islamic State jihadists have also staged several attacks in Turkish cities in the past year.