English-speaking suicide bomber kills policeman in attack near Istanbul’s touristic square
The attack targeted the tourism unit of the Istanbul Police Department, which is located near several iconic landmarks, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern.
A policeman has been killed in a suicide attack by an English-speaking woman in central Istanbul, a week after another attack on the city's police by a far-left group.
A niqab-clad female suicide bomber targeted the building of the tourism police unit near Sultanahmet Square, one of Istanbul's most popular touristic places, at 5:20 p.m. on Jan. 6, NTV television reported.
The assailant "exploded herself before going into the police building, as she was prevented by the guards at the entrance," the Cihan news agency reported.
Istanbul Governor Vasıf Şahin said the suicide bomber presented herself as a tourist, telling the police in English that she had forgotten her wallet inside while attempting to enter the building moments before the attack.
"One policeman is seriously wounded. The other policeman is better," he added, while answering reporters' questions at the scene.
Kenan Kumaş, one of the injured policemen, later died in hospital.
DHKP/C claims Istanbul suicide attack
The bomber has reportedly been identified as Elif Sultan Kalsen, an alleged member of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). Social media sites close to the group hailed her operation, adding that she had previously been subjected to torture after being detained by police.
DHKP-C said in a statement on its website "our sacrificial fighter... carried out the sacrificial action on the tourist police department in Sultanahmet."
It said that Tuesday's bombing was aimed at "bringing to account" the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over corruption following a ruling the day earlier that four former ministers accused of graft will not stand trial, as well as over the killing of Berkin Elvan, who was killed by police during the Gezi protests.
As the body of the attacker was recovered and injured people were taken to hospital, police stopped the tram service in the area, which was cordoned off as a security measure.
Doğan News Agency's footage shows the moments after the attack near the square:
Three suspicious packages were also detonated by a bomb squad near the site.
On Jan. 1, F.Ö., who had served jail term for being a member of the DHKP/C, was detained in front of Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, which also houses a prime ministerial office, after throwing a bomb that failed to explode at police officers.