Irish citizens among those injured in Istanbul attack
Local media are reporting that two Irish citizens are among those injured in the suicide bomb attack in Istanbul today.
Al Jazeera Turkey published a list of the nationalities of the injured from the Turkish Health Ministry and two Irish citizens are listed.
There are no details as yet as to the nature of the injuries.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today expressed his horror and sadness at the bombing in central Istanbul.
“I am deeply saddened by today’s horrific bomb attack in central Istanbul.
“I have spoken to Ambassador Brendan Ward in Turkey and can confirm that we are aware of a number of Irish citizens among the injured. An Embassy official is on the ground in Istanbul to provide consular assistance.
“Anyone with concerns for Irish citizens please ring 01 4082000 or Embassy Ankara on 0090 312 4591000. If you are in the area, please follow the instructions of the police and local authorities.”
Four people have died and a number of others are injured after a suicide attacker detonated a bomb on Istanbul's main pedestrian shopping street İstiklal Avenue on Saturday, the city's governor said.
Vasip Sahin said the explosion occurred outside a local government office on Istiklal Street, which is also home to cafes, restaurants and foreign consulate buildings, with the attacker among the dead.
Police sealed off the area and a forensic team was at the scene.
Turkey was already on edge following two recent suicide car bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group, which is an off-shoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
The most recent attack, on March 13, targeted a line of bus stops on Ankara's busiest street and killed 37, including two bombers.
"It was one loud explosion," said Muhammed Fatur, a Syrian who works at a butcher shop near the scene of Saturday's explosion. "Police came to the scene and sealed off the area."
Turkey had heightened security in Ankara and Istanbul in the run-up to a Kurdish spring festival of Newroz on March 21, which Kurds in Turkey traditionally use to assert their ethnic identity and demand greater rights.