Irish citizens among the wounded in suicide bomb attack in Turkey


"A number" of Irish citizens have been injured in a bomb attack in Turkey which killed five people and left dozens injured, the Irish government has confirmed.

A suicide attacker detonated a bomb on Istanbul's main pedestrian shopping street outside a local government office on Saturday morning, the sixth such attack in the country over the past year.

Among the dead were two Israelis and one Iranian citizen, officials said, killed as the bomb tore through a neighbourhood that is popular with tourists and home to cafes, restaurants and foreign consulates.

Skin, the lead singer of English band Skunk Anansie, was inside a hotel near where the explosion occurred and said she was left "very shaken" after the building "shook like paper".

She said: "Massive bomb blast outside our hotel, I'm OK, very shaken, people dead, awful scenes."

Posting a picture of the city on her Facebook page, she added: "Beautiful Istanbul taken before the horrendous bomb blast that just went off outside our hotel. Many people injured, horrific scenes, building shook like paper.

"My heart goes out to the innocent people and their families caught up in this evil situation. We are OK, very shaken, city is in lock-down, plain clothes police with guns everywhere, scary times."

The Turkish government said 39 people were wounded, including 24 foreigners of whom two were Irish citizens.

Irish minister for trade and foreign affairs Charlie Flanagan expressed his "horror and sadness" at the bombing, saying: "I am deeply saddened by today's horrific bomb attack in central Istanbul.

"I have spoken to ambassador Brendan Ward in Turkey and can confirm that we are aware of a number of Irish citizens among the injured. An embassy official is on the ground in Istanbul to provide consular assistance."

The country's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "Turkey has always said that terrorism has no religion, no language and no race and that terrorism has to be condemned no matter who the perpetrators are.

"This sad event has shown once again how right our position is."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but suspicion has fallen on Islamic State and Kurdish militants who have claimed two recent attacks in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Anyone concerned about an Irish citizen is urged to call 01 408 2000 or the embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara on 0090 312 459 1000.