Istanbul explosion: was it a bomb, how many people have died? Authorities latest statements

Turkish president declared the bombing a ‘treacherous attack’

Six people were killed and dozens wounded when a bomb exploded on a popular pedestrian street in Istanbul, authorities have said.

The blast happened in the Turkish city on Sunday (13 November) afternoon. The cause of the explosion on Istiklal Avenue is believed to have been a bomb.

Footage posted online showed ambulances, fire engines and police at the scene on Istiklal Avenue, a typically crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals and lined with shops and restaurants. In one video, a loud bang could be heard and flames could be seen, as pedestrians turned and ran away.

Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down. Other footage showed ambulances, fire engines and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blast a “treacherous attack” and said its perpetrators would be punished. In addition to the six fatalities, Erdogan said a further 53 had been wounded, according to information he had received from the Istanbul governor.

Erdogan did not say who was behind the attack but he said it had the “smell of terror”, without offering details, and also added 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’s media watchdog imposed a temporary ban on reporting on the explosion — a move that prevents broadcasters from showing videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath. The Supreme Council of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks and accidents.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Emergency personnel secure the scene after an explosion occurred on Istiklal street, a busy pedestrian thoroughfare on November 13, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. It is unclear what caused the explosion that left at least six people dead and dozens injured, according to reports. The previous terrorist attack in Istanbul was in 2017, a nightclub mass shooting incident killing 39 people and wounded 79 others. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted the death toll and said those injured were being treated. Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by the so-called Islamic State group and outlawed Kurdish groups.

Five prosecutors were assigned to investigate the blast, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.