Explosions in Istanbul Produce Injuries, Deaths Near Stadium

Breaking News: What is believed to have been at least car bomb exploded near Taksim Square and the Vodafone Arena, a stadium in Istanbul, Turkey at 10:30 p.m. Istanbul local time. Two explosions, one immediately after the other, have been reported, one near Taksim Square, one near the stadium.

Update 12/10/2016: The two bombs have been identified as a car bomb and a suicide bomb that were targeted against police officers. Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu confirmed that 29 people died as a result of the explosions that were then followed by machine gun shots. Twenty-seven of those who died were police officers. Another 166 people were wounded in the attacks, six of those are in intensive care with three of the wounded in critical condition.

See below for more details.

The explosion occurred hours after the end of a soccer match between two of Turkey’s top football teams, with Vodafone Arena being home to the Beskitas team. Although all fans had exited the stadium at the time of the explosions, a police riot vehicle that was leaving the area took the brunt of the blast, ostensibly the target of the explosion.

At this time, 20 people are reported to be injured as a result of the explosion, all of them currently identified as police personnel, according to the Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu.  Two fires were observed on the road outside Vodafone Arena.

Ambulances and police rushed to the scene of the explosions, with police cordoning off the area near the stadium in central Istanbul.

As early as September 2016, both Homeland Security in the United States and international intelligence agencies reported that ISIS and other terrorist organizations may target stadiums. No group has yet claimed responsibility for today’s explosions in Istanbul.

More information to follow as it becomes available.

Update 12/10/2016: The first explosion, identified as a car bomb, took place on a hill outside Vodefone Arena, where police were exiting after having provided security for an earlier soccer match held there. The second explosion, identified as a suicide bomb, struck in Macka Park. The two areas are near one another and located in central Istanbul.

The Turkish police have detained 10 people in connection with the attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan provided his thoughts in a statement:

“We have once again witnessed tonight in Istanbul the ugly face of terror which tramples on every value and decency.”

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