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TURKEY EXPLOSION

At least 13 killed in Besiktas stadium car bomb attack

The area around the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul has been closed off as police investigate the explosion. Information will be updated as we have it.

Una explosión siembra el pánico ante el estadio del Besiktas
@TURKEYUNTOLD

At least 13 people killed and several injured

According to initial reports via Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, a suspected car bomb outside a football stadium in central Istanbul wounded around 20 people on Saturday hours after the end of a match between two of Turkey's top teams. Official sources have now stated that at least 13 people have been killed by the explosion.

The attack took place following the match between Besiktas and Bursaspor and initial indications were that the blast was caused by a car bomb targeting a riot police bus.

Turkish policemen at the site of an explosion in central IstanbulTurkish policemen at the site of an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Besiktas stadium sealed off

Two witnesses told Reuters that there were two blasts. A Reuters photographer said many riot police officers had been seriously wounded. Armed police sealed off streets around the Vodafone Arena, home to the Besiktas soccer team. TV footage showed what appeared to be the wreckage of a burned out car and two separate fires on the road outside the stadium.

Broadcaster NTV said the explosion targeted a police vehicle that was leaving the stadium after fans had already dispersed.

Police arrive at the site of an explosion in central IstanbulPolice arrive at the site of an explosion in central Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Ongoing militant threat

Turkey has experienced a bloody year of militant attacks in its two biggest cities that have left dozens dead and put the country on high alert. Kurdish militants have twice struck in Ankara, while suspected Islamic State group suicide bombers have hit Istanbul on three occasions.

In June, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, with authorities pointing the finger at IS.

Another 57 people, 34 of them children, were killed in August in a suicide attack by an IS-linked bomber at a Kurdish wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.

The country is also still reeling from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his alleged supporters from state institutions.