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Reuters/Osman Orsal
Police secure the square in the Sultanahmet district.
ISTANBUL

A suicide bomber in Istanbul’s tourist district has killed 10 and wounded others

Cassie Werber
By Cassie Werber

Reporter

This post was updated at 10:15am ET on Jan. 12. 

At least 10 people were killed and another 15 wounded in an explosion in Istanbul this morning (Jan. 12). A suicide bomber with links to Syria carried out the attack, according to a televised statement (link in Turkish) by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu later said the ISIL terror group was responsible.

Most of those killed were German tourists, according to Al Jazeera. ”International terrorism has shown its ugly face,” said Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor. Germany warned its tourists against visiting sites in Istanbul after the incident.

The Turkish governor’s office reported the numbers of dead and wounded in the explosion, which hit shortly after 10:00am local time. The blast hit Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul’s old city, an area popular with tourists and close to sites like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Hurriyet, a local news site, published photos (link in Turkish) that appear to show paramedics helping wounded people lying on the grass in a part of the square. Other images seen by Quartz show bodies lying on the pavement.

Videos of police cars and ambulances rushing to the scene were shared on Twitter, while people in the area reported hearing a loud blast:

This is the second deadly incident to hit Turkey in four months. In October, two bomb attacks on a peace rally in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, killed some 100 people and wounded many others. Turkey’s prime minister cited ISIL as a prime suspect in that attack, but both separatist organizations and nationalist ones have also come under suspicion amid ongoing investigations.

Some news outlets said (paywall) that the government had imposed a temporary ban on local reporting of the incident. This was also the case following the Ankara bombings (link in Turkish).