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Twelve people, including seven Turkish officers, have perished in a bombing that targeted a police car in the central district of Istanbul, Oilprice.com sources on the ground have confirmed.
The city’s governor, Vasip Sahin, said the bomb had been placed inside of a car and exploded when the police vehicle passed nearby.
The explosion occurred close to the Vezneciler metro station and could have put tourists in danger as major historic and cultural sites, such as the Suleymaniye Mosque, are within walking distance of the site.
The government-run news channel TRT said the vehicle had been in the Beyazit district of Istanbul. Pictures of the bus from after the wreckage show it in mangled form, while nearby shops had their windows broken due to the force of the blast.
Later on Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the country’s war on militant and terror groups would continue “to the end” and that the blasts were “unforgivable.”
The national leader visited the victims of the attack before giving his public response to the incident.
The bombings, which occurred during the first days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, have not been claimed by any terrorist group as of yet, though Oilprice.com sources on the ground in Istanbul say the attack bears markings of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, against whom the government has launched an offensive against in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.
Istanbul has already suffered two attacks at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) this year.
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Security forces had been on high alert in Turkey since last month, after a bomb blast injured four people in the capital city.
Two other attacks, claimed by the PKK or affiliated groups, occurred in Ankara.
Analysts say the attacks have had a “dire” effect on the summer tourism season in Turkey, which saw a 28 percent decline in visitors during April 2016, when compared to the same month last year.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…