- Title: Istanbul bombings death toll rises to 44
- Date: 12th December 2016
- Summary: VARIOUS OF POLICE CARS, AMBULANCE AND WATER CANNON NEAR BLAST SITE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE GATHERED AT MAKESHIFT MEMORIAL
- Embargoed: 27th December 2016 11:31
- Keywords: Turkey blast death toll commemorations bombings Istanbul Heath Minister Recep Akdag diplomatic missions
- Location: ANKARA, ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- City: ANKARA, ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Reuters ID: LVA0045CKUSLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
The death toll from twin bombings in Istanbul has risen to 44, of whom 36 were police officers, Health Minister Recep Akdag said at a parliamentary session on Monday (December 12).
On Monday morning, consul generals in Istanbul were among those paying a visit to the makeshift memorial outside the soccer stadium where the car bomb was detonated.
The officials laid wreaths and held one minute of silence for the blast victims.
Two bombs exploded less than a minute apart outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul on Saturday (December 10) night, in a coordinated attack on police shortly after a match between two of Turkey's top teams.
First, a car bomb exploded outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul's Besiktas soccer team, leaving flaming wreckage on the street.
Forty-five seconds later, a suspect wearing explosives detonated them while surrounded by police in an adjacent park, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings.
The attacks come five months after Turkey was shaken by a failed military coup, in which more than 240 people were killed, many of them in Istanbul, as rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets in a bid to seize power.
In recent months thousands of Kurdish politicians have been detained, including dozens of mayors and the leaders of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), parliament's second-biggest opposition party, accused of having links to the PKK.
The crackdown against Kurdish politicians has coincided with widespread purges of state institutions after July's failed coup, which the government blames on followers of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric.
Istanbul has seen several other attacks this year, including the one in June, when around 45 people were killed and hundreds wounded as three suspected Islamic State militants carried out a gun and bomb attack on its main Ataturk airport.
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