ISTANBUL (Web Desk) – A suicide bomber killed four people on Saturday in a busy shopping district in the heart of Istanbul, pushing the death toll from four separate suicide attacks in Turkey this year to more than 80.
Two Israeli-Americans and an Iranian were killed in the Saturday’s attack. Another 36 were injured in the blast near a government building, the BBC reported.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the blast was “inhumane” and would not stop Turkey, which has been targeted by Kurdish and Islamic State militants, from fighting “centers of terrorism”.
The blast, which also wounded at least 36 people, was a few hundred meters from an area where police buses are often stationed. It sent panicked shoppers scurrying into alleys off Istiklal Street, a long pedestrian avenue lined with international stores and foreign consulates.
The wide pedestrianised avenue is one of the most famous streets in Istanbul, lined with boutiques, art galleries, theatres, cafes and foreign consulates, leading to Galatasaray Square.
No-one has admitted carrying out the attack, the latest in recent months..
Eleven Israelis were among the injured. Two Irish citizens, one national each from Germany, Iceland, Dubai and Iran were also injured.
The attack will raise further questions about the ability of NATO member Turkey to protect itself against a spillover of violence from the war in neighboring Syria.
Turkey is battling a widening Kurdish insurgency in its southeast, which it sees as fueled by the territorial gains of Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria, and has also blamed some of the recent bombings on Islamic State militants who crossed from its southern neighbor.
“No center of terrorism will reach its aim with such monstrous attacks,” PM Davutoglu said in a written statement. “Our struggle will continue with the same resolution and determination until terrorism ends completely.”
Turkey has also been carrying out a campaign of bombardment against Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it regards as a extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down last summer.
Since then, more than 340 members of Turkey’s security forces have been killed along with at least 300 Kurdish fighters and more than 200 civilians.