angela merkel - bolja.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MICHAEL KAPPELER

"Today it hit Istanbul, before that it was Paris, Tunisia and Ankara," Chancellor Angela Merkel said after it emerged that nine out of 10 people killed in a terrorist attack in the Turkish capital on Tuesday were German nationals.

"International terrorism has once again reared its ugly head and this shows the necessity of proceeding with determination against it," the German leader said.

Merkel's comments seemed to confirm that the Islamic State extremist group was the prime suspect in the attacks, which occurred near the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque - two famed tourist attractions in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district.

Of the 15 people that sustained injuries in the explosion, another nine were Germans thought to be part of a tourist group, Turkish officials said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spoke to Merkel on the phone to inform her about the incident and assure her that Turkey would share the details of the investigation with German officials. He also expressed his condolences about the deaths of German citizens.

He placed the blame for the attacks squarely with Islamic State in a nationally televised address.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned the "barbaric, cowardly act of terror," and expressed his condolences to the victims' families.

The crisis committee of the German government was working with the Consulate General in Istanbul and the German embassy in Ankara to get to the bottom of the attack, Steinmeier said in a statement posted on Twitter.

His Foreign Ministry advised German citizens travelling in Turkey to avoid large congregations of people. "Political tensions, violent confrontations and terrorist attacks can be expected across the country," the ministry said on its website.

German tourism companies were offering customers with bookings for holidays in Turkey free cancellations. Travel company Alltours said that it had removed Istanbul from its Turkey itineraries several weeks ago due to the continued security risk.

German visitors are vital to Turkey's tourism industry. In the first 10 months of 2015, the largest group of foreigners visiting Turkey were Germans - over 5 million people, constituting 15 per cent of the total number of visitors.

Related stories

Latest news

Messi's last minute penalty saves Barcelona from shock draw

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-1 with a last minute penalty from Lionel Messi in the Spanish first division on Sunday.

At least 30 injured after explosion in Bogota

A explosion in the Macarena area of Bogota injured at least 30 people on Sunday, many of them police officers who were guarding a bull running through the streets of the Colombian capital.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Defence deals worth 1.2 billion dollars announced at key UAE show

Deals worth nearly 4.4 billion dirhams (1.2 billion dollars) were reached at a major defence show that opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.

Thousands protest in Malta against controversial press law reforms

Thousands of people attended a demonstration in Malta on Sunday, answering a call by the main opposition party to protest against what it described as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

London's mayor calls for Trump's state visit to be cancelled

US President Donald Trump should be denied a state visit to Britain due to his "cruel and shameful" immigration policies, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Sunday.

'Now more than ever': US scientists gird for confrontation with Trump

Normally any annual gathering of American scientists is relatively non-political. But, with Donald Trump in the White House, things are different at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many researchers are worried about their future and are urging colleagues to protest - and remain vigilant.

Int'l conference on post-war monuments in post-communist Europe held in Zagreb

The event was organised by the Zagreb-based association SF:ius in cooperation with the Croatian chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Serbians wouldn't go to war for Kosovo - poll

A majority of citizens in Serbia wouldn't go to war to claim back Kosovo, shows a survey conducted by the Serbian nongovernmental organisation "Belgrade Centre for Security Policy".

Grabar-Kitarovic, Lavrov find solution to air pollution caused by Bosanski Brod oil refinery

Croatia and Russia have found a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by a Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been poisoning residents of Slavonski Brod, a town across the Sava River in Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Sunday.

Istria border police discover 20 migrants in van

During routine border control, police in the northern Croatian Adriatic region of Istria on Saturday discovered 20 migrants in a van driven by a Croatian national, the Ministry of the Interior said.