Ten killed in Istanbul blast, Syrian suicide bomber blamed (Third Lead)

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Istanbul, Jan 12 (IANS) At least 10 people were killed and 15 others wounded in a powerful bomb explosion that rocked Turkish city Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet Square on Tuesday. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the attack on a Syrian suicide bomber, a media report said.

The blast, so loud that it could be heard in the neighbouring districts, took place around 10.15 a.m. local time at the square which is a renowned tourist hub, Xinhua news agency reported quoting an Istanbul governor’s statement.

“I was there when the explosion happened. The earth below my feet was shaken. Everyone was running… Within five minutes, the area was full of police and ambulances,” an eyewitness told Xinhua.

Addressing a gathering of ambassadors in capital Ankara later, President Erdogan blamed a Syrian suicide bomber for the attack, noting that there were foreign citizens among those killed.

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“This incident once again has shown us that we have to stay united against terrorism,” he added.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held an emergency meeting in Ankara with the interior minister and security chiefs after the bombing.

Turkey has faced a series of deadly attacks. In July 2015, a bomb attack in the border town of Suruc left 34 pro-Kurdish and Left-wing activists killed.

In October, twin suicide bombings hit Ankara, claiming a toll of 103 lives. Both were blamed on the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

On January 6 last year, a woman carried out a suicide bombing attack on a police station in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet, leaving an officer dead and another injured.

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