At least 13 said killed in suicide and car bombings outside Istanbul stadium
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At least 13 said killed in suicide and car bombings outside Istanbul stadium

Interior minister says target was bus of riot police deployed to soccer game at Besiktas grounds; transport minister brands it ‘terrorist attack’

Turkish emergency workers, police officers and forensic work on the site where a car bomb exploded near the stadium of football club Besiktas in central Istanbul on December 10, 2016.  (AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE)
Turkish emergency workers, police officers and forensic work on the site where a car bomb exploded near the stadium of football club Besiktas in central Istanbul on December 10, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE)

At least 13 people were killed in one of two explosions outside an Istanbul soccer stadium on Saturday evening.

The death toll was reported by Reuters, which quoted Turkish security officials.

The fatal blast struck the area outside Istanbul giant Besiktas soccer team’s stadium after a match against the Bursaspor club, targeting a bus packed with police officers, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. He initially said some 20 officers were wounded in the attack.

The two explosions hit the stadium area after fans had gone home.

“Two bombings may have taken place according to our understanding: one outside the stadium… the other at Macka Park,” Soylu told reporters in Istanbul. “The explosion at Macka Park is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.”

Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium, known colloquially as Besiktas Stadium after the local team and neighborhood. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions.

The first and larger explosion took place about 10:30 p.m. after the home team Besiktas beat visitor Bursaspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super League.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. This year Istanbul has witnessed bombings attributed by authorities to the Islamic State group or claimed by Kurdish militants.

Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey Eitan Na’eh denounced the “hideous attack.”

Turkey’s Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan wished a speedy recovery on Twitter to the victims of what he said was a terrorist attack.

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