On Sunday afternoon, police cordoned off the area, where crowds were dense, and helicopters
Istanbul: A powerful explosion of unknown origin shook Istanbul’s busy shopping street of Istiklal on Sunday, killing six people and injuring dozens more, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who condemned the “vile attack.” He also stated that preliminary evidence points to a ‘terrorist’ attack. “Our state’s relevant units are working to find the perpetrators… behind this heinous attack,” Erdogan said during a televised press conference.
“I was 50-55 metres (yards) away, suddenly there was the noise of an explosion. I saw three or four people on the ground,” witness Cemal Denizci, 57, told AFP.
“People were running in panic. The noise was huge. There was black smoke. The noise was so strong, almost deafening,” he said.
Parents swept their children up into their arms as they fled the area.
Authorities have not stated what caused the explosion.
According to an AFP video journalist on the scene, police have set up a large security cordon to prevent access to the damaged area due to the possibility of a second explosion.
A massive deployment of security forces barred all entrances, while rescue workers and police officers were visible.
A large black crater and several bodies lying on the ground were also visible in the images.
Istiklal Street had previously been targeted during an attack campaign in 2015-2016 targeting Istanbul.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed nearly 500 people and injured over 2,000 more.