ISIS suicide bomber kills 10 in Istanbul

Paramedics removing a body from the scene after a blast triggered by an ISIS suicide bomber near the Blue Mosque in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday, killed 10 people, mostly foreigners. It is believed that most of the victims
Paramedics removing a body from the scene after a blast triggered by an ISIS suicide bomber near the Blue Mosque in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday, killed 10 people, mostly foreigners. It is believed that most of the victims are Germans.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

ISTANBUL • Ten people, mostly foreigners, were killed and 15 others injured yesterday when a militant from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) blew himself up in Istanbul's busiest tourist district.

Images showed several mutilated corpses lying on the ground close to the iconic Ottoman-era Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet, a district home to Istanbul's biggest concentration of historic monuments.

"We have determined that the perpetrator of the attack is a foreigner who is a member of Daesh," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, referring to ISIS by its Arabic acronym.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, who identified the bomber as a Syrian national born in 1988, said he was thought to have recently entered Turkey from Syria and was not on Turkey's watch list of suspected militants.

Most of the dead were foreigners. It is believed that most of them are Germans.

No Singaporean is known to be directly affected by the blast.

Police and ambulances raced to the scene, throwing up a tight security cordon around the area as helicopters hovered overhead, and crowds of worried locals and tourists clamoured to find out what had happened.

The explosion took place by the Obelisk of Theodosius, a monument from ancient Egypt which was re-erected by the Roman Emperor Theodosius and is one of the city's most eye-catching monuments.

Turkey has been on high alert after a series of attacks blamed on ISIS, including a double suicide bombing last October in Ankara that killed 103 people.

"I heard a very loud blast, then came the screams," said a Turkish man who did not want to be identified.

"Then I saw a ball of fire, and started to run away... I am 100 per cent sure it wasn't just a bomb, but a suicide bomber," he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'ISIS suicide bomber kills 10 in Istanbul'. Print Edition | Subscribe