Israelis wounded in Istanbul suicide bombing
At least 4 people have been killed, and at least 36 others are reported wounded after a suicide bombing rocked the main shopping street in central Istanbul, according to local media.
Photos from the scene in Taksim district that have emerged online show badly maimed bodies and body parts lying in the street. Dozens of ambulances and emergency workers are on the spot.
According to some reports, there has been another attack, in the Nisantasi area of Istanbul.
A broadcast ban has been imposed on reporting on the bombing.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that there were three Israelis among the wounded.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul were monitoring events. Nearby Turkey has remained a popular destination for Israeli tourists, despite a years-long freeze in ties between the two countries.
Israeli Joint Arab List MK Ayman Odeh said that six Arab-Israelis were injured in the blast. Sixteen of the wounded in total are reportedly foreigners.
Of the 36 wounded, at least seven are in serious condition, governor Vasip Sahin said in a statement carried live by broadcaster CNN Turk.
One of the wounded Israelis, Naama Peled, spoke to the Hebrew-language media from hospital after the attack, while tour guide David Califa confirmed on social media that he had also been hurt. A spokesman for the Joint (Arab) List said that six Arab Israelis were wounded in the attack.
“To all those dear people who are worried, I am sorry that I cannot answer you,” Califa wrote in Hebrew on Facebook. “Naama and I are lightly wounded and being treated. The rest of the group members are dispersed among four hospitals. Please pray with us for their well being.”
The wounded Israelis were apparently part of a 14-strong group led by Califa, who had traveled for Turkey on a culinary trip.
Irem Aktas, a member of Erdogan’s AKP party who acts as the Women’s Media & Publicity Chairman in Eyup, Istanbul tweeted “I wish that the wounded #Israeli tourists were dead.”
In another tweet she added “when Israel was attacking your Muslim brothers, why didn’t you say anything.”
Shortly after she made her twitter profile private, and then it was removed altogether.
The Turkish health minister separately said that “even though they are foreigners, they are human beings as well”
Besides the wounded, 12 Israelis in the country had yet to contact Israeli authorities, and the Foreign Ministry was considering sending an airplane to bring the injured Israelis home, Israel radio reported.
The Foreign Ministry was investigating unconfirmed reports that two of the killed in the attack in Istanbul were Israeli citizens.