(Details correct at time of publication)
A suspected member of Islamic State has detonated a suicide bomb in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The BBC report that ten people died in the blast, nine of whom were German, while 15 others were wounded.
Turkish officials claim that a Syrian national carried out the attack in the Sultanahmet district, near the famous Blue Mosque.
President Erdogan said Turkey was the ‘top target for all terrorist groups in the region’ adding that his country was ‘fighting against all of them equally’.
The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu telephoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel to deliver the news that most of the dead were German.
Mr Davutoglu’s office has said that they will find and punish those linked to the bomber and to continue their fight against IS militants.
— Maher Zain (@MaherZain) January 12, 2016
Turkey’s Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said:
It has been identified that the suicide bomber is Syrian and his connections are being investigated.
The suspect has been identified from body parts found at the scene and is said to have been born in 1988.
Mr Kurtulmus claims the suspect was not on Turkey’s militant watch-list and is believed to have only recently crossed into Turkey from Syria.
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) January 12, 2016
Eyewitness Murat Manaz said:
It was a suicide bomb. I went there and saw it and came back to the hotel. There was chaos. Everybody was running somewhere.
Policemen did not see this coming. They were distressed but at the same time they were trying to evacuate the area because they said there was a possibility that a second bomb could go off.
The authorities are now investigating what type of explosive was used.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) January 12, 2016
Chancellor Merkel has expressed ‘serious concern’ about the casualties, saying a German tourist group had been affected by the attack.
Today Istanbul was hit; Paris has been hit, Tunisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit before.
International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today.
Germany’s foreign ministry has urged German tourists in Istanbul to avoid large crowds and tourist attractions, warning that further violent clashes and ‘terrorist attacks’ were expected across Turkey.