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ISTANBUL, Turkey – At least six people were killed and 81 others injured in an explosion on Istanbul’s most notorious shopping street on Sunday, Turkish officials said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the explosion on Istiklal Avenue as an attack and vowed to identify those responsible. Police arrested a suspect on Monday, the Associated Press reported, citing Turkey’s interior minister.
“Our people must be assured that the perpetrators of the incident on Istiklal Avenue will be punished as they deserve,” he said. “Relevant units across our state continue to work to uncover the perpetrators of this treacherous attack and the groups behind it.”
There was no immediate explanation or claim of responsibility.
Store owner Hasan Ozsut, who believes he was 500 meters from the blast, said he saw about four people lying on the ground and many others running.
“God knows who’s going to take responsibility this time,” he said.
Ozsut also expressed concern about how the blast would affect year-end tourism in Turkey.
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Istanbul has already been the scene of attacks. On New Year’s Day in 2017, a gunman shot and killed 39 people in a nightclub. Nearly 80 other people were also injured. In 2003, a series of suicide bombings were carried out using trucks at four locations in the city.
The United States condemned the explosion, describing it as an act of violence in a statement released by the White House Press Secretary.
“We stand alongside our NATO ally,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement.
Five prosecutors have been assigned to investigate the blast, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Online videos show bodies lying on the road. Turkey’s media watchdog has imposed a temporary ban on reporting on the blast – a move that prevents broadcasters from airing videos of the time of the blast or its aftermath. The Supreme Radio and Television Council has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks and accidents.
Material from The Associated Press has been included in this report.