ISIS Blamed For Suicide Bomb Attack In Istanbul's Tourist Center

January 12th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

An explosion rippled through a historic district and popular tourist area in Turkey's cultural capital, on Tuesday morning.

The blast in Istanbul's Sultanahmet area, near the district's soaring, opulent mosques, has been linked to a suicide bomber affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. It left at least 10 dead and 15 others wounded — most of them European tourists.

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A picture posted on Twitter by Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and global research professor at New York University, purported to show the explosion near Sultanahmet Square.

The obelisk seen in the above picture dates back to around 1490 B.C., though it was erected in Istanbul sometime in the 4th century, A.D., when the city was the Roman capital of Constantinople.

Obelisk of Theodosius

Turkish officials said the bomber was a Syrian man linked to the Islamic State.

"We have determined that the perpetrator of the attack is a foreigner who is a member of Daesh," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said of the attacker, using an Arabic term for the terrorist group.

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Sultanahmet Mosque

German Chancellor Angela Merkel mourned the attack, grouping it in with other recent international tragedies, the BBC reported.

"Today Istanbul was hit; Paris has been hit, Tunisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit before," Merkel stated. "International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today."

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Terrorist threats in Istanbul — and Turkey more broadly — have increased in recent years as the country has ramped up its involvement in the fight against the Islamic State, conducting airstrikes and allowing the U.S. to conduct operations from its air base in Incirlik, in Adana.

In January of 2015, a Russian citizen thought to be connected with IS blew herself up near a police station in the Sultanahmet district, killing a police officer.

The attack comes one day after Islamic State militants carried out coordinated bombings across multiple cities in Iraq.