[UPDATE] Death toll in İstanbul twin blasts rises to 44

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A man holds his child next to Turkish national flag during a demonstration on December 11, 2016 a day after twin bombings near the home stadium of Besiktas football club. Turkey declared a day of national mourning after twin bombings targeting police struck the heart of Istanbul near the home stadium of football giants Besiktas, killing 29 people YASIN AKGUL / AFP

The number of people who were killed in Saturday’s twin blasts in İstanbul rose to 44 from 39 with the death of five more civilians in hospitals on Monday.

Health Minister Recep Akdağ said in a statement on Monday that a total of 44 people have died from the attacks, 36 of whom are police officers while eight are civilians.

The explosions took place near Vodafone Arena in Beşiktaş following a match between the Beşiktaş and Bursaspor football teams.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Sunday that 17 of the injured were in surgery and six in intensive care. He also added that some 10 suspects had been detained after the attack.

Detailing the bombings during the press conference Kurtulmuş said the first attack directly targeted riot police near the stadium and was 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 was 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.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), on Sunday claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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.

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