Istanbul explosion bomba.jpg
Photograph: EPA/DENIZ TOPRAK

Ten people are dead following a suspected suicide bomb attack in the popular touristic Sultanahmet area of central Istanbul.

The Istanbul governor's office said 15 people were also injured. The blast occurred at around 10:15 am (0815 GMT).

Broadcaster CNN Turk cited police sources saying they suspect a suicide bomber launched the attack, which struck near the Hagia Sophia museum and Blue Mosque, both major tourist attractions on the European side of the metropolis.

The broadcaster reported six Germans were among those injured, along with a Norwegian and a Peruvian. The German Foreign Office said it was in touch with the Turkish authorities, but did not confirm the report.

A large group of police and emergency workers were at the scene after police cordoned off the area near the blast.

The government has also imposed a temporary broadcast ban in the wake of the explosion.

State television and other major stations were not showing images from the scene. Reporters in Sultanahmet, including a dpa journalist, were facing difficulties photographing and accessing the site.

Omer Celik, a spokesman for the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), condemned the "vile attack," in a post on his Twitter feed.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is set to convene a security meeting in Ankara later in the day.

Turkey - which borders both Iraq and Syria, two nations facing civil wars - has been facing increasing unrest during the past year.

The largest blast in the country’s history took place in October, in the capital, Ankara. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a train station during a pro-Kurdish peace rally, killing 100 people.

The Islamic State was blamed for that attack, as well as for another suicide blast months earlier in 2015, in the south of the country, which left more than 30 people dead. The group never claimed responsibility.

Meanwhile, violence in the south-east of the country has soared, as state security forces battle Kurdish militants after a peace process collapsed in the middle of last year.

Istanbul has seen sporadic violence too, mostly from far-left groups. A mortar explosion at an airport in the city last month left one dead, with no clear claim of responsibility.

Latest news

Petrokemija posts HRK 87.3m loss in 2016

The Petrokemija artificial fertiliser manufacturer made HRK 1.93 billion in revenues in 2016, expenditures were HRK 2.02 billion and the loss was HRK 87.3 million, down 5.6% on the year, the Kutina-based plant said on Monday.

Wigemark says election legislation amendments of utmost importance for Bosnia

Wigemark said that amending the election legislation and continuing the process for joining the EU were the most important political processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Egyptian court upholds 10 death sentences in 2012 football riot

Ten defendants in a 2012 Egyptian football stadium riot, in which 74 people were killed, saw their death sentences upheld by an Egyptian court Monday.

Italian cops bust ring giving fake EU papers to 'enormous number'

Police said Monday they had busted a criminal ring that sold fake work papers to thousands of immigrants, allowing them to obtain Italian residency permits and access to the rest of the European Union.

Militants launch two rockets into Israel from Sinai

Two rockets fired from Egypt's Sinai peninsula landed in Israel on Monday.

US vice president reaffirms commitment to European Union

The United States remains committed to a "continued cooperation and partnership" with the European Union, US Vice President Mike Pence says.

Strike shuts museums and archaeological sites in Greece

The majority of archaeological sites and museums in Greece will remain closed on Monday.

Iran carries out more missile tests despite US pressure

Despite US sanctions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard carried out more missile tests on Monday, part of three days of military manoeuvres.

Eleven injured as migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta

Around 350 migrants managed to scale the 6-metre-high double border fence around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco early Monday.

One Vietnamese sailor dead, seven abducted in attack off Philippines

Suspected pirates killed a crew member of a Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship and abducted seven in the latest attack in southern Philippine waters, coast guard officials said Monday.

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.