Istanbul: 46 arrested after explosion killing 8 and injuring 81

At least eight people have been killed and 81 wounded in an explosion in a busy area of central Istanbul, Turkish authorities have said. The blast happened at about 16:20 local time (13:20 GMT) on Sunday on a shopping street in the Taksim Square area.

Turkish police have arrested 46 people over the explosion in central Istanbul that left at least eight people dead and 81 others wounded, Istanbul police have said.

A suspect has now been arrested, the interior minister said. Vice-President Fuat Oktay earlier said the blast was thought to be a terrorist attack carried out by a woman.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the perpetrators would be punished. Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, he condemned what he called the “vile attack” and said “the smell of terror” was in the air.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told Turkish media a woman had sat on a bench in the area for more than 40 minutes, leaving just minutes before the blast took place.

On Monday morning, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said a person suspected of having left the bomb had been arrested by police, and accused the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of responsibility. The PKK is a militant group which calls for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. The EU and the US regard it as a terrorist organisation.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the blast. The government minister Derya Yanik wrote in a tweet that a government ministry employee and his young daughter were among the victims.

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