Istanbul blast claimed to be a suicide attack

WEB DESK: Turkish police sealed off a central Istanbul square in the historic Sultanahmet district on Tuesday after a large explosion that killed 10 and injured 15, a Reuters witness said, and the Dogan news agency reported several people were injured in the blast.

Initial reports claimed it to be a suicide bomb. Eye Witness Turkish Tourist said that the suicide bomber was a female. rescue operations are under process, Aaj News reported.

The explosion occurred just after 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) in the city’s historic Sultanahmet district, close to the Blue Mosque.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Istanbul says in recent months there have been sporadic attacks by a far-left group in Istanbul, while violence has soared between Turkish forces and PKK Kurdish militants, mainly in southeast Turkey, after a ceasefire broke down.

Turkey has also been hit by bomb attacks blamed by prosecutors on the so-called Islamic State group.

Two suicide blasts in the capital Ankara in October killed more than 100 people and more than 30 people were killed in an attack near the border with Syria in July.

Ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion in Sultanahmet square, close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, in a major tourist area of Turkey’s most populous city.

*Developing story