Car bomb blasts target police at Istanbul football stadium

Turkish police officers cordon off the roads leading to the area of the Besiktas football club stadium, in Istanbul. Picture: AP

Turkish police officers cordon off the roads leading to the area of the Besiktas football club stadium, in Istanbul. Picture: AP

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TWO explosions have rocked a major football stadium in Turkey, wounding at least 20 riot police, authorities said.

Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from the newly built Besiktas Stadium in Istanbul. Witnesses said gunfire could be heard in what appeared to have been an armed attack on police. The private NTV channel said the target of the attack was a bus for riot police.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu confirmed the casualty toll and said the wounded were police officers. The explosions took place after the home team Besiktas beat visitor Bursaspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super League.

“It is thought to be a car bomb at a point where our special forces police were located, right after the match at the exit where Bursaspor fans exited, after the fans had left,” Mr Soylu told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

“We have no information on the number of dead. God willing, we hope there won’t be any. The wounded are police.”

Television images showed more than a dozen ambulances on a street outside the stadium and a police helicopter flying overhead with its searchlights on.

Bursaspor said none of the wounded were fans and issued a statement saying: “We wish a speedy recovery to our wounded citizens.”

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin were notified of the attack, Anadolu said.

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