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Reuters

Reuters

David Gauthier-Villars and Azra Ceylan

ISTANBUL — Six folks had been killed and 53 others had been wounded on Sunday when an explosion rocked a busy pedestrian avenue in central Istanbul in what Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan known as a bomb assault that “smells like terrorism.”

Ambulances raced to the scene on the packed Istiklal Avenue, which police had shortly cordoned off. The realm, within the Beyoglu district of Turkey’s largest metropolis, had been crowded as typical on the weekend with buyers, vacationers and households.

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Video footage obtained by Reuters confirmed the second the blast occurred at 4.13 p.m. (1313 GMT), sending particles into the air and leaving a number of folks mendacity on the bottom, whereas others fled the scene.

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“Efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish folks via terrorism will fail right now simply as they did yesterday and as they are going to once more tomorrow,” Erdogan informed a information convention in Istanbul.

“Our folks can relaxation assured that the culprits behind the assault can be punished as they deserve,” he stated, including that preliminary info prompt “a lady performed a component” in it.

“It could be mistaken to say that is undoubtedly a terrorist assault however the preliminary developments and preliminary intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism,” he added.

No person has claimed duty for the blast. However Istanbul and different Turkish cities have been focused previously by Kurdish separatists, Islamist militants and different teams, together with in a sequence of assaults in 2015 and 2016.

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‘PEOPLE FROZE’

Reuters footage confirmed folks attending to victims after the blast, and later investigators in white outfits amassing materials from the scene, the place items of a concrete planter had been scattered on the avenue.

“After I heard the explosion, I used to be petrified, folks froze, taking a look at one another. Then folks began working away. What else are you able to do,” stated Mehmet Akus, 45, a employee in a restaurant on Istiklal.

“My kinfolk known as me, they know I work on Istiklal. I reassured them,” he informed Reuters.

A helicopter flew above the scene and a variety of ambulances had been parked in close by Taksim Sq.. The Turkish Crimson Crescent stated blood was being transferred to close by hospitals.

If confirmed, it might be the primary main bomb blast in Istanbul in a number of years.

Twin bombings outdoors an Istanbul soccer stadium in December 2016 killed 38 folks and wounded 155 in an assault claimed by an offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Employees Occasion (PKK).

Condemnations of the assault and condolences for the victims rolled in from a number of nations together with Greece, Egypt, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

European Council President Charles Michel stated on Twitter he had despatched condolences to victims after the “horrific information.” (Extra reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara, writing by Jonathan Spicer; Modifying by Gareth Jones)