by, RT News
At least 13 people were reportedly killed, and several dozens more injured in two separate blasts which allegedly targeted Turkish security forces in the vicinity of Besiktas stadium in Istanbul.
The explosion killed at least 13 people, Reuters reported, citing security sources. Meanwhile Al Jazeera reported at least 15 casualties.
According to the Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, two separate explosions happened, one outside the stadium and another one near Macka Park. Turkish broadcaster NTV cited the minister as saying that one of the blasts was a suicide bomb. The blast outside the stadium happened at around 10:30pm local time, more than an hour after the end of the match.
Video courtesy of: RT
The blast likely targeted a riot police bus, the minister said.
“It is thought that it was a car bomb at a point where our special police forces were located, right after the match at the exit where Bursaspor fans left, after the fans departed,” the Guardian quoted Soylu as saying.
Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan called the explosion outside the stadium a “terrorist” act. He expressed his condolences to the victims’ families on Twitter.
“Two explosions happened Saturday after a football match,” Alaattin Kilic, a reporter from Istanbul, told RT. “The attacks targeted a police bus as it was leaving the stadium after [a] … security job.”
Police, according to the reporter, immediately intervened with water cannon to extinguish the fires caused by the explosion. Rescue units are currently working at the scene, Kilic stressed.
Meanwhile, two witnesses told Reuters they heard two blasts outside the Vodafone Arena.
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 Yilmiz, who works as a cleaner at the nearby Dolmabahce mosque.
“People ducked under the tables, women began crying. Football fans drinking tea at the cafe sought shelter, it was horrible,”he told Reuters.
Pictures of grey clouds rising near Besiktas stadium quickly emerged online. Those were followed by images and videos of the explosion’s aftermath.
Many Turkish riot police have been seriously injured in the blast, according to a Reuters witness.
A game between two of Turkey’s top teams, Besiktas and Bursaspor, was held at the arena on Saturday evening. The explosion happened after the match finished and the fans already dispersed.
None of Bursaspor’s fans were injured in the incident, the team reported on Twitter, saying it checked the information with fan groups.