At least 29 were killed and 166 injured in twin blasts on Saturday night following a football match in İstanbul, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced.
Speaking during a joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, Soylu said 17 of the injured were in surgery and six in intensive care. He also added that some 10 suspects were detained after the attack.
The explosions took place near Vodafone Arena in Beşiktaş, following a match between the Beşiktaş and Bursaspor football teams.
Detailing the bombings during the press conference Kurtulmuş said the first attack directly targeted riot police near the stadium and were staged by the detonation of a car carrying bombs. He added that the second attack was carried out 45 seconds later by a suicide bomber who were stopped by police at Maçka Park just across from the stadium.
A gag order was imposed on the incident while the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the incident.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A secret Turkish police intelligence memo said the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was planning simultaneous car bomb attacks in the capital city of Ankara on a weekend in early December.
“Terrorist organization Daesh [ISIL] plans attacks [no detailed information about exact time of the attacks available at this stage] with explosive-laden vehicles in the vicinity of Kızılay, Tunali Hilmi, Anıtkabir and a shopping mall in early December 2016,” said a confidential memo circulated by the Ankara Governor’s Office.
It is also noted that the attacks would take pace simultaneously in the morning and around noon between a Friday and a Monday.
Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer, a newly identified spokesman for ISIL, urged sympathizers around the world to carry out attacks targeting Turkish diplomatic, military and financial interests abroad, Reuters reported on Dec. 6.
Two young singers are shaken by the effects of a blast on the other side of the Bosporus when twin explosions went off at Vodafone Arena in Beşiktaş.
Solidarity messages flow
The attack in İstanbul drew international messages of solidarity. The US condemned the attack. “We condemn tonight’s cowardly attack, and salute the courage of the Turkish people as we stand with them against terror,” the US Embassy in Ankara tweeted.
European Union officials also expressed solidarity with Turkey following the attack. “Following news from İstanbul, in contact with authorities. All our solidarity to all citizens of Turkey,” said Federica Mogherini, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the EU Commission, in her Twitter message.
Condemning the attack in İstanbul, Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, said, “Violence has no place in a democratic society.”
The European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri also expressed solidarity with the Turkish people with a Twitter message: “Terrible news from İstanbul – my thoughts are with the Turkish people on this awful night.”
The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency posted news criticizing EU officials for not calling the attack in Istanbul a terrorist attack.
“Condemn attack in İstanbul. My thoughts are with all those affected. UK committed to working with Turkey to tackle terrorism,” said Boris Johnson, secretary of state for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs in his Twitter message.