An apparent car bomb attack has obliterated a coach carrying police forces this morning at Vezneciler in Istanbul’s Beyazit district. The blast, which took place near the city’s historic Fatih district where tourists were targeted earlier this year, was followed by gunfire according to eyewitnesses.
Istanbul governor Vasif Şahin later announced that 11 have so far died as a result of the attack, of whom 7 were police, with another 36 casualties and bystanders with severe injuries rushed to nearby hospitals.
The incident too place near a bus stop at a time when commuters would be on their way to work, and is looking to be one of the most deadly attacks on Istanbul in recent years.
Nearby vehicles and shops were damaged in the explosion, although photography from the scene shows that the police coaches took the force of the blast.
The coaches in question, along with TOMA water cannons, have been deployed primarily to to suppress political protest in Istanbul, becoming an everpresent presence following the 2013 Gezi protests against the rule of President Erdogan.
The bombing has not yet been claimed – though analysts say such tactics would be more consistent with those of Kurdish separatist networks such as splinter group TAK, who fiercely oppose Turkey’s government and policies having suffered years of conflict in the country’s embattled southeast, rather than Islamists whose modus operandi has been to target foreigners in the country.