A suspected terrorist bomb blast Tuesday morning in Istanbul’s main Sultanahmet Square, a popular tourist spot in the center of the capital, has killed at least 10 people, including nine German citizens.
The explosion went off next to a German tourist group close to the Hagia Sofia, a former Byzantine church that is one of Istanbul’s biggest sightseeing spots, according to several media reports.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke of a suicide bomber with Syrian roots at a press conference broadcast on Turkish television. Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, said authorities had “determined that the perpetrator of the attack is a foreigner who is a member of Daesh (Islamic State).”
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Eye witnesses told Turkish journalists that a suicide bomber set off an explosive device in the middle of the crowded square.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday evening confirmed there were German casualties. “According to current insights of the Turkish authorities, eight Germans are among the fatalities of this murderous attack,” he said in a statement to reporters.
Another nine Germans were injured, Mr. Steinmeier said. German television broadcaster NTV had already reported that several more injured Germans were brought to nearby hospitals, most of them senior citizens who were part of the tourist group.
Germany and Turkey are NATO members, and are participating to varying degrees in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.