©Health & Fitness Journal. Ambulances and security guards are seen after an explosion at the busy Istiklal pedestrian street in Istanbul, Turkey, November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan 2/3
By David Gauthier-Villars and Ece Toksabay
ISTANBUL (Health & Fitness Journal) – Six people were killed and 81 others injured on Sunday when an explosion rocked a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul in what Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called a bomb attack that “smacks of terrorism”.
Ambulances rushed to the scene on crowded Istiklal Avenue, which police quickly cordoned off. The area in the Beyoglu district of Turkey’s largest city was crowded with shoppers, tourists and families as usual over the weekend.
Video footage obtained by Health & Fitness Journal showed the moment the blast took place at 4:13 p.m. (1313 GMT), throwing debris into the air and leaving several people on the ground while others fled.
About four hours after the blast, Vice President Fuat Oktay and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu visited the site of the blast.
Oktay said the number of people injured was 81 and reiterated six people died in the blast.
“We will resolve this matter very soon,” Oktay told reporters.
Erdogan told a press conference in Istanbul that “efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish people through terrorism will fail today as they did yesterday and tomorrow.”
“Our people can rest assured that those responsible for the attack will be punished as they deserve,” he said, adding that initial information indicated “a woman played a role”.
“It would be wrong to say that this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack, but initial developments and initial information from my governor say it smacks of terrorism,” he added.
Nobody took responsibility for the explosion. Istanbul and other Turkish cities have been attacked by Kurdish separatists, Islamist militants and other groups in the past, including in a series of attacks in 2015 and 2016.
Health & Fitness Journal footage showed people tending to victims after the blast and later investigators in white outfits collecting footage from the scene, where parts of a concrete planter were scattered on the street.
“When I heard the explosion I was petrified, people froze and looked at each other. Then people started running away.
“My relatives called me, they know that I work at Istiklal. I calmed her down,” he told Health & Fitness Journal.
A helicopter flew over the crime scene and several ambulances parked in nearby Taksim Square. The Turkish Red Crescent said blood was being transferred to nearby hospitals.
Vice President Oktay said: “We consider it an act of terrorism”.
If confirmed, it would be the first major bomb blast in Istanbul in several years.
Two bomb blasts outside an Istanbul football stadium in December 2016 killed 38 and wounded 155 in an attack claimed by an offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States became.
Condemnations of the attack and condolences for the victims poured in from several countries, including Greece, Egypt, Ukraine, Britain, Azerbaijan, Italy and Pakistan.
On Twitter, EU Council President Charles Michel expressed his condolences to the victims after the “terrible news”.