A suicide bomber appeared to target foreigners in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday, setting off an explosion that killed 10 people and injured 15 others, many of them German nationals.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the bomber was a member of ISIS, the terror group behind the deadly attacks in Paris last November that killed and injured hundreds, CNN reported.
At a news conference earlier Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, saying that the bomber was a Syrian national born in 1988, BBC reported. He further stated that Istanbul was the “top target for all terrorist groups in the region.”
The explosion occurred near Istanbul’s famed blue mosque in the city’s Sultanahmet district that is popular with tourists shortly before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. According to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmusv, the Syria-linked suicide bomber was identified from body parts.
The Associated Press, citing an unnamed senior Turkish government official, reported that at least nine of the victims were German. Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters, “We are very concerned that German citizens could be and probably will be among the victims.”
“Today Istanbul was hit; Paris has been hit, Tunisia has been hit, Ankara has been hit before,” Merkel stated Tuesday. “International terrorism is once again showing its cruel and inhuman face today.”
Germany warned citizens to stay away from tourist sites in Istanbul following the explosion.
John Bass, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, said that the embassy in Ankara was closely following the news reports about the explosion, the embassy wrote on Twitter.
This post will be updated as further information becomes available.