A large explosion rocked the Sultanahmet Square in central Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday, reported Reuters. According to a statement released by Istanbul’s governor’s office, the explosion has left at least 10 dead and 15 wounded.
Investigations into the incident are ongoing, reported the Turkish daily Hurriyet. CNN Turk broadcaster reported that German and Norwegian tourists are among the victims.
Turkish police and ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion immediately. Although some local reports suggest that it may have been caused a suicide bomber, cause of the explosion remains unknown. However, “terrorism links are suspected,” according to a Turkish official’s statement to AFP.
According to a Reuters correspondent, eyewitnesses have reported seeing body parts at the scene of the explosion, an account that was later confirmed by Turkish police. “The explosion was very loud. We shook a lot. We ran out and saw body parts,” a woman working at a nearby antiquities store told Reuters.
Benim saydığım 4 itfaiye, onlarca polis, ve 6 7 tane ambulans. Ve sürekli ambulans gelmeye devam ediyor… pic.twitter.com/K8rRl0Y21u
— Özkan ÖZTÜRK (@sssbaknedicem) January 12, 2016
The Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) district, which is surrounded by some of Istanbul’s most famous tourist attractions such as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, has been sealed off for the fear of a second explosion.
It wasn’t long before the Turkish authorities ordered a media gag on covering the blast, Anadolu news agency reported.
In October 2015, two large explosions in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, killed at least 30 people and injured dozens. The blasts targeted a peace rally that was calling for an end to violence between Turkish forces and the PKK, the Kurdish separatist group.