ISTANBUL (AP) — A bomb exploded on a major pedestrian avenue in the heart of Istanbul on Sunday, killing six people, wounding dozens and sending people fleeing as flames rose.
Footage posted online showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene on Istiklal Avenue, a popular thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants that leads to the iconic Taksim Square. In one video, a loud bang could be heard and flames seen as pedestrians turned and ran away.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blast a “treacherous attack” and said its perpetrators would be punished.
In addition to the six people killed, Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that another 53 were wounded — casualty counts that Erdogan also gave.
Erdogan did not say who was behind the attack, but he said it had the “smell of terror” without offering details and also adding that was not absolutely certain yet. He said investigations were ongoing by the police and the governor’s office, including reviewing footage of the area.
Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by the Islamic State group and outlawed Kurdish groups. More than 500 civilians and security personnel were killed in the attacks.
Turkey’s media watchdog imposed temporary restrictions on reporting on the explosion — a move that bans the use of close-up videos and photos of the blast and its aftermath. The Supreme Council of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks and accidents.