File photo: The attack targeted a van holding riot police. AP/Press Association Images

At least 11 killed after Istanbul car bomb

Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezneciler metro station.

AT LEAST 11 people are dead after a car bomb targeted a police station in Istanbul.

The remote-controlled bomb exploded as a service shuttle bus carrying officers from Istanbul’s anti-riot police was passing in the central Beyazit district close to many of the city’s top tourist sites, Turkish television reports said.

Ambulances and fire engines were dispatched to the scene. Eleven people — seven of them police — were killed, NTV television reported. 36 others have been wounded.

Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezneciler metro station, which is within walking distance of some of the main sights of city’s historical centre including the famed Suleymaniye Mosque.

The metro station was closed as a security precaution.

Pictures showed the bomb had turned the police vehicle targeted into mangled wreckage and that nearby shops had their front windows smashed out by the force of the blast.

Cars parked in the vicinity were also damaged. Television pictures showed bomb disposal experts examining the scene in case of a second unexploded bomb.

Scheduled examinations at Istanbul University — which lies close to the scene of the blast — have been cancelled.

Reports said that shots were heard and pictures showed police in bullet proof vests brandishing their weapons.

The blast took place opposite an upscale hotel favoured by foreign tourists, the Celal Aga Konagi Hotel, a converted Ottoman mansion.

- © AFP, 2016 

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