Turkey’s interior minister says twin blasts outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul have killed 29 people and wounded 166 others.

The attack, which appeared to have targeted police, struck shortly after the conclusion of a match late Saturday.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu says one of the blasts was thought to be a car bomb and the second appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomber.

In a address early Sunday, Soylu said 10 people had been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement saying “unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded.”

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 neighbourhood. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions.

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

CBC in Istanbul

CBC correspondent Nil Koksal said from Istanbul that six or seven ambulances had raced past her location, and she’s seen buses filled with heavily armed officers.

She said it wasn’t yet clear who was responsible for the explosion.

This year Istanbul has witnessed bombings attributed by authorities to ISIS or claimed by Kurdish militants.

Shattered glass

Television images showed more than a dozen ambulances on a street hugging the stadium and a police helicopter flying overhead with its searchlights on. The window glass of nearby buildings was shattered by the blasts and coated the pavement. Investigators, including Istanbul police Chief Mustafa Caliskan, were quickly on the scene.


Rescue workers arrive at the site of fatal explosions in central Istanbul. (Reuters)

The Besiktas sports club “strongly condemned” terrorism and the attack in a statement posted on its website.

Bursaspor said none of the wounded were fans and issued a statement saying “we wish a speedy recovery to our wounded citizens.”

Coverage ban

Turkey’s radio and television board issued a temporary coverage ban citing national security concerns. It said “to avoid broadcasts that can result in public fear, panic or chaos, or that will serve the aims of terrorist organizations.”

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin were also notified about the attack, Anadolu said.


Turkish policemen are seen at the site of the blasts. (Reuters)

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