REPORTS suggest that at least thirteen people have been killed and others injured after a suspected car bomb exploded outside a football stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.
The attack appears to have targeted a police vehicle that was leaving the recently-constructed Vodafone Arena two hours after the final whistle had blown on a league match between Beșiktaș and Bursaspor, meaning fans had already dispersed.
Witnesses are quoted as saying that gunfire had been heard with police and ambulances descending on the scene following the incident, which is the latest in a recent spate of attacks in major Turkish cities.
As news of the blasts broke, Interior minister minister Süleyman Soylu confirmed that the injured were police officers. “It is thought to be a car bomb at a point where our special forces police were located, right after the match at the exit where Bursaspor fans exited, after the fans had left,” he said. “We have no information on the number of dead. God willing, we hope there won’t be any. The wounded are police.”
The state-run Anadolu news agency said that both Prime minister Binali Yıldırım and governor of Istanbul Vasip Şahin are aware of the attack.
Streets close to the stadium have been sealed off by armed police, while television images depicting a burnt-out car and two street fires have been broadcast.
Speculation is mounting that the bombing was carried out by militants associated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or an offshoot of that group, which has been calling for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state within Turkey since the 1970s.
The reason they are suspected to be behind the attack is that they tend to target police, whereas Daesh, the other major suspect, tends to kill in a more indiscriminate fashion, often involving civilians.