Istanbul (AsiaNews) – A Syrian national carried out a suicide bomb attack in the Sultanahmet district, near Istanbul’s famous Blue Mosque. At least 10 people, mostly foreigners, died in the explosion.
Reacting to the incident, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey was the "top target for all terrorist groups in the region". His country, he added, was "fighting against all of them equally".
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said most of the victims were foreign and that the suicide bomber was a Syrian born in 1988 who had been identified from body parts.
Most of the people involved are said to be from Germany and Norway.
The government has imposed a media blackout and cordoned off the area. A hundred agents in riot gear are combing the area looking for clues. It is unclear whether Turks were involved.
Vatican Secretary of State Card Pietro Parolin on Tuesday expressed his sorrow for the Istanbul terrorist attack. “What is happening [in Turkey] pains us,” he said. “What is happening there, what continues to repeat itself, confirms that the best medicine in the face of these evils is always mercy.”
In recent years, Kurdish, Islamist and far-left groups, including the Islamic State group, have carried out attacks in Turkey.
Two suicide blasts in the capital Ankara in October killed more than 100 people and more than 30 people were killed in an attack in Suruç, near the border with Syria in July.