A SUICIDE bomber thought to be a foreign member of ISIS is believed to have caused this morning’s explosion at a packed tourist hotspot in Istanbul.At least ten people were killed in the explosion in the Turkish city’s historic Sultanahmet district – where thousands of Brits visit every year.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the suicide bomber is thought to be a foreign member of ISIS who recently crossed the border from Syria.Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus earlier said he was a 28-year-old Syrian refugee.Turkish officials reportedly blamed ISIS for the attack but this has not been verified.Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has told Angela Merkel most of those who died are German.
At least nine of the wounded were also German nationals. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at a news conference in Berlin, said Germans from a group travelling together could also be among the dead.
She added: “Today Istanbul was hit. Paris has been hit, Tunisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit before.
“International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today.”
Police reportedly caught a female suicide bomber about to carry out another attack minutes later. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a Syria-linked suicide bomber was thought to be behind the blast. After the attack Germany urged its citizens in the area to ”avoid large crowds” amid fears that further explosions could take place.
A message on the Foreign Office website told Brits to ”follow the instructions of the local security authorities”. Police sealed off the area, home to landmark attractions the Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque, fearing a second explosion.
The cause of the blast has not yet been confirmed. Turkey suffered two major bombing attacks last year. More than 30 people were killed in an ISIS suicide attack in the town of Suruc, near Turkey’s border with Syria, in July. Two suicide bombs in October outside Ankara’s main train station as people gathered for a peace rally killed more than 100 people in Turkey’s deadliest attack.
The prosecutor’s office said the attack was carried out by a local ISIS cell. Around 2.5million Brits visit Turkey every year according to UK government figures.