Toll in Istanbul’s twin bombings rises to 44

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Istanbul, Dec 12 (IANS) The deaths in Istanbul’s twin bombings have risen to 44, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag announced on Monday.

A local daily quoted the minister as saying that 36 police officers and eight civilians lost their lives in the attacks on Saturday night, targeting riot police on duty outside a football stadium in the district of Besiktas, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier the tally was 38, including 30 police personnel.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, a militant group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed the responsibility for the attacks on Sunday.

The blasts happened near the Besiktas stadium one and a half hours after a football match ended there, and were caused by a bomb car and a suicide bomber.

On Monday, Turkey scrambled warplanes on the same day and destroyed some 12 PKK targets in northern Iraq, while 118 officials from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party were detained in five provinces by counter-terror police teams.

Consul generals from some 30 countries went to the bombing sites to mourn the dead, laying wreaths in colours representing their countries.

–IANS

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