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The New Arab

Twin blasts kill dozens outside Istanbul stadium

A car bomb targeted a bus transporting riot police [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2016

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At least 29 people were killed and 166 injured after two explosions struck outside a football stadium in Istanbul Saturday night, the Turkish health ministry said.

At least 29 people were killed and 166 injured after two explosions struck outside a football stadium in Istanbul Saturday night, the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.

The twin blasts were caused by a car bomb targeting a bus transporting riot police outside the stadium as a suicide attacker struck a nearby park, .

The car bomb detonated outside the Besiktas football team's stadium after a match against the Bursaspor club.

27 police officers and two civilians were killed in the attack, with the death toll likely to rise.

In a address early on Sunday, the interior minister said 10 people had been arrested in connection with the attacks.

"Two bombings may have taken place according to our understanding: one outside the stadium... the other at Macka Park," Soylu told reporters earlier in the evening.

"The explosion at Macka Park is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber."

"The (stadium) attack targeted the riot police's bus," the minister said.

State broadcaster TRT World showed images of the wreckage of a car, engulfed in flames with emergency services swarming around the scene outside the sports venue.

Other footage showed severely damaged police vehicles, while witnesses said the force of the blast had shattered the windows of several nearby homes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement saying "unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded" but did not specify the number.

Erdogan said the timing of the attack aimed to claim as many lives as possible.

Soylu, had given an initial casualty toll of 20 injured police officers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Istanbul has witnessed several bombings attributed by authorities to the Islamic State group or claimed by Kurdish militants.

Following the attack, Turkey's radio and television board issued a temporary coverage ban citing national security concerns.

It called on media outlets "to avoid broadcasts that can result in public fear, panic or chaos, or that will serve the aims of terrorist organisations."

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