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Deaths and injuries reported after explosion in central Istanbul

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Eleven people were reportedly injured in an explosion on Istiklal Avenue, a pedestrian thoroughfare in Turkey’s largest city.

An explosion in Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal avenue on Sunday left people dead and injured, a senior official said.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the blast occurred around 4:20 pm (1320 GMT) on Sunday and that there were deaths and injuries, but did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was unclear.

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A video posted online showed flames erupting and a loud bang, as pedestrians turned and ran.

Other images showed ambulances, fire trucks and police officers at the scene. Social media users said stores were closed and the avenue closed.

CNN Turk broadcaster said 11 people were injured. The avenue is a busy street, popular with tourists and locals, lined with shops and restaurants.

Ambulances and security are seen after an explosion on the busy Istiklal pedestrian street in Istanbul.
Ambulances and security at Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]

Turkey was hit by a series of deadly attacks between 2015 and 2017 by ISIL (ISIS) and groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“There are strong suspicions that it was a suicide attack, but we still do not have any official statement. [on that]Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu said from Istanbul.

Koseoglu called the blast a shock as there have been no recent warnings of attacks in the city.

“But security measures have remained high in the area,” he said.

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