An apparent suicide attack at a popular Turkish tourism site has killed and injured dozens, generating fears of further violence in Turkey.
An explosion killed at least 10 people and injured 15 others Tuesday morning in a historic district of Istanbul popular with tourists, the Istanbul governor’s office said.
The cause of the explosion in the Sultanahmet district was being investigated, but state-run TRT television reported it was likely caused by a suicide bomber.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of government rules, said the explosion was believed to be “terror-linked.” He did not provide further details.
The explosion, which could be heard from several neighborhoods, was at a park that is home to a landmark obelisk, some 25 meters (yards) from the historic Blue Mosque.
Police sealed the area, barring people from approaching in case of a second explosion, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.
The Sultanahmet neighborhood is Istanbul’s main sightseeing area and includes the Topkapi Palace and the Haghia Sophia museum.
Erdem Koroglu, who was working at a nearby office, told NTV television he saw several people on the ground following the blast.
“It was difficult to say who was alive or dead,” Koroglu said. “Buildings rattled from the force of the explosion.”
The Yonhap news agency said a South Korean national was among the wounded. It was not immediately known if any other foreigners were hurt or killed.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu immediately convened a security meeting with the country’s interior minister and other officials.
As with previous attacks, authorities imposed a news blackout, barring media from showing images of the dead or injured or reporting any details of the investigation.
Turkey suffered two major bombing attacks last year, both blamed on the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
More than 30 people were killed in a suicide attack in the town of Suruc, near Turkey’s border with Syria, in July.
Two suicide bombs exploded in October outside Ankara’s main train station as people gathered for a peace rally, killing more than 100 in Turkey’s deadliest-ever attack. The prosecutor’s office said that attack was carried out by a local Islamic State cell.
Germany has already warned its citizens to avoid crowds outside tourist attractions in Istanbul.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry warned on its website that further violent clashes and “terrorist attacks” are expected across Turkey.
It also urged travelers to stay away from demonstrations and gatherings, particularly in large cities.
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