istanbul bomb turkey.jpg
Photograph: EPA/DENIZ TOPRAK

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Sunday that the Islamic State extremist group was behind the suicide bombing in Istanbul.

Ala identified the bomber as Mehmet Ozturk from Gaziantep, a southern Turkish city near the border with Syria.

Saturday's attack on Istanbul's main shopping street popular with locals and tourists killed five people, including the assailant, leaving Turkey reeling from the second such attack within a week.

Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said at least 36 people were wounded in the explosion near a shopping area on Istiklal boulevard, a busy thoroughfare in the centre of Istanbul just off Taksim Square.

Among the injured in the blast in Turkey's largest city and economic hub were 24 foreigners, the local government's office said.

In January, 12 tourists were killed by a suicide bomber in Istanbul in an attack the authorities blamed on Islamic State.

The largest terrorist attack in the country's history came in October, when 100 people were killed in a series of bombings in Ankara also blamed on Islamic State.

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