Istanbul suicide blast targets police station
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated 5:45pm: At least one police officer died and five people were severely wounded on Tuesday in a suicide bombing that targeted a police station in central Istanbul, Turkish media reported.
The attacker came running towards the police station in the central Sultangazi neighborhood and blew himself up at the entrance, partially caving in the front door and the ceiling, said witnesses.
The rubble crushed several people, including police officers, inside the building. The wounded were taken to nearby hospitals and the toll was likely to rise, said an AFP photographer at the scene.
A Turkish leftist militant group has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in a statement published on a website close to the group and a senior security official said.
The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which has carried out at least one suicide attack in Istanbul before, said in the statement that one of its members had carried out Tuesday's attack in the suburb of Sultangazi.
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the statement, but a high-ranking security officer told Reuters that the security services also believed the DHKP/C was responsible.
In May, a suicide bomb squad killed one policeman when they drove into a police station in the central city of Kayseri and opened gun fire before setting off a bomb.
That attack killed one officer instantly, left another in critical condition and wounded 16 civilians, including several children. The two assailants were also killed.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said it had carried out the May attack.
Another suicide bombing took place last October in the eastern town of Bingol, where two people were killed when a woman blew herself up near the headquarters of the governing Justice and Development Party.
In November 2010 in Istanbul, a bomber blew himself up on the central Taksim square, wounding 32 people.
Turkey has launched a series of major military assaults in recent months in the country's southeast against PKK fighters.
But Kurdish rebels have persisted with their attacks, as part of a 28-year campaign against the Turkish state for a separate Kurdish homeland.
Kurds number 20 percent of Turkey's total population.
(AFP, Reuters Al-Akhbar)