Explosion hits Istiklal street in Istanbul, five dead
A Turkish policeman runs after an explosion on the pedestrian Istiklal avenue in Istanbul on March 19, 2016. Two people, including the bomber, were killed and six others injured in a suicide attack on a major shopping street in Istanbul on Saturday, Turkey's CNN-Turk television reported. (AFP/File) Bulent KILIC / AFP
At least five people have been killed after a massive bomb explosion rocked a crowded shopping district in the Turkish city of Istanbul, according to media reports.
The blast took place on Saturday when a bomber detonated his explosives on Istiklal street in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district.
The street, which adjoins Taksim Square, is also home to cafes, restaurants and foreign consulate buildings.
Istanbul’s governor Vasip Sahin said that the death toll for the attack has so far reached five. At least 36 people have also been injured, seven critically.
According to Turkey’s Dogan news agency, ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast.
Reports say the attacker is among those killed.
'Ugly face of terror’
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is on an official visit to Istanbul, roundly condemned the terror attack, which he said, shows “the ugly face of terrorism.”
The incident comes just days after a bombing attack, claimed by a Kurdish militant group, left about 35 people dead in the capital, Ankara.
Turkey has witnessed at least five major bombing attacks since last July, when it launched a military campaign against militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern border areas.
The Turkish military has also been conducting offensive operations against the positions of the group in northern Iraq.
The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on Daesh.
Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material