BREAKING NEWS Voices and Newswires

TEN people are feared dead and 15 injured – including tourists – in an explosion that rocked İstanbul’s central Sultanahmet Square, close to the iconic Blue Mosque,  a world tourist attraction, this morning (Tues).

The explosion occurred at 10.20am, the Doğan news agency reported. It is understood that among the casulaties are French, German, Norwegian and Peruvian tourists.

Witnesses speaking to CNNTürk reported hearing a loud blast and a huge flame erupted during the blast. Large numbers of ambulances, firefighter trucks and health teams have been dispatched to the area while a police helicopter circled overhead.

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The Istanbul Governor’s office reported to DHA Agency that there were 10 dead and 15 injured. The cause of the explosion is unknown

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Its location is being reported as close to Dikilitaş and very near the German Fountain, the Obelisk of Theodosius and Sultanahment Square in the Fatih district. The explosion was heard in nearby districts, according to witnesses.

Police tightened security measures around the area and sealed off the central square after the blast, barring people from approaching in case of a second explosion.

Sultanahmet Square is İstanbul’s main sight-seeing area and is home to Topkapı Palace and the Blue Mosque.

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Tourists were among the victims of the explosion, reports indicate, while wounded persons were transferred to nearby hospitals, mainly Haseki Training and Research Hospital.

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala has also informed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu about the explosion.

Meanwhile, a police car overturned on its way to the scene of the explosion and was righted with the assistance of passersby.
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