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At least 10 dead after blast in major Istanbul tourist area

The explosion occurred in Sultanahmet Square, near Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

A blast at one of Turkey’s top tourist sites has killed 10 people and injured 15 others, according to the government delegation in Istanbul.

There are no confirmed causes yet for the explosion at the Sultanahmet Square, located near Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque – sites that receive thousands of visitors daily.

The police have put big security measures in place for fear of a second explosion”

Eye witness

Authorities are considering the hypothesis that it was a suicide attack.

“There was a very strong explosion near the Egyptian obelisk [across from the Blue Mosque] and we went to see what had happened,” explained Ersin, a local who works in the tourism industry, shortly before the police evacuated the area.

“The police have put big security measures in place for fear of a second explosion,” he added.

The blast took place shortly after 10am local time and was heard more than one kilometer away, according to several witnesses. Many ambulances and firefighter trucks were dispatched to Sultanahmet Square, which has been evacuated.

In October of last year, 99 people were killed and over 240 injured in twin blasts at a peace march in Ankara.

English version by Susana Urra.

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