At least six people have been killed and 53 injured in an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday afternoon, the city’s governor said.
Governor Ali Yerlikaya further stated that the injured are being treated.
“God’s mercy to the deceased and speedy recovery to the injured,” he tweeted.
Yerlikaya earlier confirmed that the explosion occurred on Istiklal Street in Beyoglu Square.
“Our police, health, fire and AFAD teams were dispatched to the scene,” he said. “Developments will be shared with the public.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Sunday afternoon’s blast in Istanbul an attack and said government officials would work to identify those responsible.
“All responsible persons will be identified and punished,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan added that he and his delegation will soon leave for the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, as planned.
An investigation into the explosion has been launched, the country’s official Anadolu news agency said.
Istanbul’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation, and five public prosecutors have been assigned to it, the agency said.
The city’s criminal court banned all visual and audio messages related to the blast and broadcasting on social media platforms, Anatolou added.
Local media reports and pictures from the area showed a large number of emergency vehicles after the blast, with at least one person receiving medical treatment. Some people can be seen fleeing the scene and the area has been cordoned off by security forces.
The cause of the explosion is unknown and CNN could not independently verify casualties.
Journalist Tariq Keblau, a witness, told CNN that several people were seen lying on the ground following the blast on Istiklal Street.
Keblau said the explosion occurred 10 meters in front of him at a shop on Istiklal Street.
The extent of the injuries of those he saw was unclear, but many were bleeding from their legs and arms, he said.
Keplau said Istiklal Street, a popular tourist area, was crowded on Sunday. Istiklal Street is one of the main streets leading to Taksim Square.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu called for help from teams of police and health workers responding to the explosion in the city.
“It is necessary to assist our police and health teams regarding the explosion on Istiklal Street and avoid posts that may cause fear and panic. All relevant groups are in the region and we will provide healthy information,” he tweeted.
This is a growing story.