By Alyssa Blakemore
Six people were killed and 81 injured Sunday after a bomb exploded on a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul.
Emergency vehicles hurried to the scene on Istiklal Avenue, where shoppers, tourists and families flock on busy weekends, Reuters reported. Video footage shows the moment of the blast when debris was spewed into the air, knocking some people to the ground while others fled, the outlet reported. A government ministry worker and his daughter are among the dead, according to authorities cited by Reuters.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the explosion a “treacherous attack,” according to the Associated Press. “It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism,” Erdogan said, according to Reuters. Turkey’s president vowed to punish those responsible for the attack, suggesting “a woman played a part,” the outlet reported. (RELATED: Istanbul Suicide Bomber Identified As Syrian Refugee)
Condolences poured in from various governments, including the United States, which “strongly condemns the act of violence,” according to a White House press statement. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Turkiye in countering terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, using the new spelling of the country’s name adopted by the United Nations in May.
Horrific news from #Istanbul tonight.
Condolences to the victims of the explosion at #Istiqlal
All our thoughts are with those currently responding and the people of Türkiye at this very distressing time.
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) November 13, 2022
Sunday’s bomb blast is the first major explosion in Instanbul in several years, according to Reuters. Turkey’s history of terror attacks includes several bombings between 2015 and 2017 that killed more than 500 civilians and security personnel, AP noted. Kurdish separatists and Islamic State militants were behind previous attacks.