Twin blasts rocked Istanbul this evening, with a car bomb detonating at a football stadium as a suicide attacker struck at a nearby park, killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens more.'Two bombings may have taken place according to our understanding: one outside the stadium... the other at Macka Park,' Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.'The explosion at Macka Park is believed tohave been carried out by a suicide bomber,' he added.The Turkish government imposed a media ban in the wake of the blasts, citing 'national security' concerns.The car bomb rocked the streets near Istanbul's Besiktas sports stadium late this evening, which lies on the European side of the city.The blast in central Istanbul wounded at least 20 people after the end of a match between two of Turkey's top teams, the Interior said.The bomber was said to have targeted a riot police bus stationed near the stadium of Istanbul's Besiktas football club.The park where the suicide attack happened lies just one street east of the stadium, in central Istanbul.The bombs exploded after the fans had left, but dozens of police officers were injured in the blasts.
The explosion was heard after Besiktas' 2-1 win at home against Bursaspor tonight,with the first and larger blast going off a about 10.30pm local time, after the TurkishSuper League match.Mr Soylu, who gave the casualty toll and said the wounded were police officers, rushed from the Turkish capital Ankara to Istanbul after receiving news of the incident.TV footage showed what appeared to be the wreckage of a burned out car and two separate fires on the road outside the stadium.Witnesses said gunfire could be heard after the explosions, in what appeared to have been an armed attack on police.'It was like hell. The flames went all the way up to the sky. I was drinking tea at the cafe next to the mosque,' said Omer Yilmaz, who works as a cleaner at the nearby Dolmabahce mosquemosque
People ducked under the tables, women began crying. Football fans drinking tea at the cafe sought shelter, it was horrible,' he added.Following the attack, armed police sealed off streets around the newly-built Vodafone Arena, home to the Besiktas football team, as smoke rose from the stadium.A police water cannon doused the wreckage of a burned out car and there were two separate fires on the road outside the building.The window glass of nearby buildings was shattered by the blasts and lay scattered the pavement.Bursaspor said none of the wounded were fans and issued a statement saying 'we wish a speedy recovery to our wounded citizens.'The Besiktas sports club also 'strongly condemned' terrorism and the attack in a statement posted on its website.Turkey's radio and television board issued a temporary coverage ban citing national security concerns in the aftermath of the blasts.It said 'to avoid broadcasts that can result in public fear, panic or chaos, or that will serve the aims of terrorist organisations.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin had been notified, the agency said:
'I condemn the cruel terror attack in Istanbul. Those attacking our nation's unity and solidarity will never win,' Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic said on Twitter.Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan also described it as a terrorist attack.There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.Turkey has experienced a bloody year of militant attacks in its two biggest cities that have left dozens dead and put the country on high alert.
Kurdish militants have twice struck in Ankara, while suspected Islamic State group suicide bombers have hit Istanbul on three occasions.In June, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, with authorities pointing the finger at IS.Another 57 people, 34 of them children, were killed in August in a suicide attack by an IS-linked bomber at a Kurdish wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.The country is also still reeling from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his alleged supporters from state institutions.