bomb attack to a police bus Turkey, istanbul.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Eleven people, including seven police force members, were killed Tuesday in a car bombing in Istanbul near a historic area popular with tourists, the local governor said.

Governor Vasip Sahin also reported 36 injured, including three in serious condition. The bomb was placed in a parked car and apparently remotely detonated as a police bus was passing.

The morning attack took place less than 1 kilometre from the Grand Bazaar, a popular tourist site in the Vezneciler area, near a public transport station.

Shops, cars and a hotel near the explosion point were damaged in the attack. Windows of the 16th century Sehzade Mosque were blown out and some stone fixtures destroyed.

The police bus itself was blackened and crumpled by the explosion. A heavy police force remained in the area.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to fight against terrorism until the "Day of Resurrection" and said efforts were focused on reducing the threat posed to the country.

"We will fearlessly and tirelessly continue our fight against these terrorists, until the end," Erdogan said after visiting a hospital where injured people were being treated. The attack "cannot be forgiven," he said.

This was the third major attack in Istanbul this year. There were also two deadly car bombings in the capital, Ankara.

Turkey's tourism industry has been tanking amid the threats, with the number of foreign visitors last month plummeting by 28 per cent, compared to the same period last year. A diplomatic row with Russia has also hurt.

Police arrested four people in connection with the attack, which was said to have been carried out using a rental car, the Dogan news agency reported.

The United States and European Union condemned the attack in separate messages.

A Turkish court imposed a partial ban on media publicizing information related to the bombing, the broadcasting authority (RTUK) reported.

Such bans, common after attacks in the country's main cities, normally prohibit broadcasting unofficial information, including that about ongoing investigations, and some images from the scenes of the attacks.

The bombing comes during the first days of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

Istanbul had already been hit by two major bombings this year, including in tourist areas. Both attacks were blamed on Islamic State.

Kurdish militants from the shadowy Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) faction claimed two car bombing attacks in Ankara this year and a suicide bombing in Bursa.

The country is facing unrest with the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and affiliated fighters in the mostly-Kurdish south-east, leaving many hundreds dead, including militants, security forces and civilians. About half a million people have been displaced.

A peace process and ceasefire collapsed last year between the Kurdish militants and the state.

Latest news

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan: 100,000 facing starvation

More than 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of violence-plagued South Sudan, three UN agencies said Monday as they declared famine in parts of the country.

North Korean envoy to Malaysia: 'We cannot trust the investigation'

North Korea "cannot trust the investigation" by Malaysian police into the death last week of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Pyongyang's ambassador to Malaysia said Monday.

Kim Dotcom loses latest round in extradition saga

German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has lost another legal round after the New Zealand High Court ruled that he and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the United States, but he said Monday his fight is far from over.

Thai monks clash with police on fifth day of high-profile temple raid

Several monks were injured early Monday in clashes with Thai police at a Buddhist temple where thousands of officers have been searching for a former abbot wanted on money laundering and land encroachment charges.

Cambodia passes bill easing requirements to abolish political parties

Cambodia's parliament passed a controversial bill on Monday allowing the government to abolish political parties whose members have been convicted of criminal charges, a senior opposition lawmaker has confirmed to dpa.

Former VP Moreno wins first round of Ecuador's presidential elections

Leftist former vice president Lenin Moreno has won the first round of presidential elections in Ecuador on Sunday, according to preliminary results released by the country's electoral authority.

Report: US and Russia supply over half of global arms

The United States and Russia supplied more than half of the world's arms over the past five years, a period that saw arms transfers reach their highest volume since the end of the Cold War, a Swedish-based research institute said Monday.

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.