Twin Bombings Hit Istanbul After Football Game
Two bombings rocked the Turkish city of Istanbul, killing at least 38 people, mostly police officers, and wounding more than 160 others.
The deadly attacks occurred two hours after a football match which was attended by thousands of spectators at Besiktas football arena.
Alzajeera reports local security forces said the first blast was a car attack while the second explosion at a nearby park was reportedly carried out by a suicide bomber. The two locations are less than a mile apart.
Security sources arrested 10 people in connection with the bombings.
The arena is located across from the historic Dolmabahce Palace overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.
Accounts of Eyewitnesses
Witnesses of the Istanbul explosions shared their experiences.
Christopher James, a freelance writer and teacher living in Istanbul, told CNN he was at a hotel not far from the arena when the explosions occurred.
“We could hear and see the boom, and then after the boom the sound came back towards us,” he said. “It sounded like gunshots reverberating and then my phone started buzzing like crazy.”
Another eyewitness named Omer Yilmaz, a cleaner at the nearby Dolmabahce Mosque, shared his experience. Yilmaz told Al Jazeera, “I heard two loud explosions within 30 seconds of each other.”
Yilmaz added, “I saw flames. I walked towards the police bus which was on fire and and I saw policemen inside.”
Suspected Perpetrators: Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
Nobody initially claimed responsibility for the attack. However, many blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the deadly attacks.
Fadi Hakura, a security analyst, told Al Jazeera that the attack has all the hallmarks of a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) operation.
“PKK tends to target any representations of the Turkish state particularly security forces,” he said.
Deadly Year of Attacks For Turkey
Turkey has been bombarded with deadly attacks this year.
In June, a triple bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport killed 47 people. Authorities blamed ISIS militants as the sole perpetrators of those attacks.
In August, a deadly attack at a Kurdish wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep killed 57 people including children.
Aside from that, Turkey was besieged by the July 15 failed coup that pushed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare a state of emergency and a mass probe to rid the perpetrators of the insurgency. More than 12,800 police officers were suspended for their alleged involvement in the failed coup on July 15 or had links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.