Turkey arrests 22, including suicide bomber, blames Istanbul blast on Kurdish militants

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday accused Kurdish militants of killing eight people on Istanbul’s main shopping street, and said police had arrested 22 suspects, including the one who planted the bomb .

Fifty people were discharged from hospital after Sunday’s attackwhich has raised concerns that Turkey could be the target of more bombings and attacks, such as the series of attacks it suffered between mid-2015 and 2017.

Television reports showed footage of a person, who appeared to be a woman, leaving a package under a raised flower bed on Istiklal Avenue, a popular spot for shoppers and tourists, with a tram line running all the way the length of the street.

Two of the five victims who were being treated in intensive care were in critical condition, the Istanbul governor’s office said. They were among the 31 injured still hospitalized.

Soylu said the order for the attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue was given in Kobani, a town in northern Syria, where Turkish forces have carried out operations against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in recent years. .

Ankara says the YPG, which Washington has backed in Syria, is a wing of the PKK, a group that has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in clashes. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Condemnations of the attack and condolences for the victims poured in from several countries, including Azerbaijan, Britain, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Pakistan, Poland and Ukraine.

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