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Suicide blast in Istanbul kills 5, one Kuwaiti among 36 ‘injured’ – Amir offers condolence to Turkish president

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A girl with traces of blood on her clothes looks at victims of an explosion on Istikal Avenue, in Istanbul, Turkey on March 19
A girl with traces of blood on her clothes looks at victims of an explosion on Istikal Avenue, in Istanbul, Turkey on March 19

KUWAIT CITY, March 19, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Saturday sent a cable of condolence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the victims of today’s suicide bombing that left scores of people dead or injured. In his cable, His Highness the Amir sharply condemned this horrible terrorist act that violates all religions and human values, and that targeted safe innocents and the country’s security and stability. His Highness the Amir also reiterated Kuwait’s firm position rejecting all forms and manifestations of terrorism, praying to Allah the Almighty to bless the victims’ souls with mercy and those injured swift recovery.

His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent the Turkish president similar cables of condolences. A Kuwaiti national was slightly wounded in the suicide attack that hit Turkey’s Istanbul earlier on Saturday, the Kuwaiti Consulate in Istanbul said.

It said in a release it was following up the injured Kuwaiti’s condition with his family, urging Kuwaitis in Turkey to contact it in case of emergency. Five people were killed and 36 others wounded in a suicide bombing attack in the heart of the Turkish city Istanbul earlier today, the Anadolu news agency reported. Five people including a suicide bomber were killed and 36 wounded in an attack on a major shopping and tourist district in central Istanbul on Saturday, in the fourth suicide bombing to hit Turkey this year. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on part of Istiklal Street, a long pedestrian street lined with global shops and foreign consulates, a few hundred metres from an area where police buses are often parked.

Two Turkish officials told Reuters evidence suggested the attacker was likely from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or the Islamic State militant group. NATO member Turkey faces security threats from both the PKK in the mainly Kurdish southeast and has also been a target for Islamist militants. One of the official said the bomber had planned to hit a more crowded spot. “The attacker detonated the bomb before reaching the targeted point because they were scared of the police,” the offi cial said, declining to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

Armed police sealed off the shopping street where half a dozen ambulances had gathered. Forensic teams in white suits scoured the area for evidence. Police helicopters buzzed overhead and panicked shoppers fl ed the area, ducking down narrow sidestreets. “My local shopkeeper told me someone had blown himself up and I walked towards the end of the street,” one neighbourhood resident told Reuters. “I saw a body on the street. No one was treating him but then I saw someone who appeared to be a regular citizen trying to do something to the body. That was enough for me and I turned and went back.” Istiklal Street, usually thronged with shoppers on weekends, was quieter than normal before the blast as more people are staying home after a series of deadly bombings.

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