At least 38 have been killed in the Istanbul 'terrorist' twin bomb attacks

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Twin attacks by a suicide bomber and a car bomber near an Istanbul football stadium have killed up to 38, including 30 police, and wounded 166 others in the latest large-scale assault to traumatise a nation confronting an array of security threats.

Turkey's interior minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters that 10 people had been arrested in connection with the "terrorist attack".

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said 19 of the 166 people wounded are in intensive care. Quoting sources Sunday in the office of the Istanbul governor, it says 155 others are still receiving medical treatment.

An ambulance in Istanbul
(Emrah Gurel/AP)

The civilian death toll was lower because fans had already left the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium after the match when the blasts occurred. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement: "We have once again witnessed tonight in Istanbul the ugly face of terror which tramples on every value and decency."

The first bomb went off just outside the facility known popularly as Besiktas Stadium after the local team and neighbourhood. The second blast that came moments later was attributed by authorities to a suicide bomber.

Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the stadium and ambulances began ferrying the wounded to hospital. Glass from the blown-out windows of nearby buildings littered the pavement.

A view of Besiktas football club stadium
(Emrah Gurel/AP)

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. This year, Istanbul has witnessed a spate of attacks attributed by authorities to Islamic State or claimed by Kurdish militants. A state of emergency is in force following a failed July 15 coup attempt.

A statement from Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's office declared a national day of mourning and ordered flags to fly at half-mast across the country and at Turkey's foreign missions.