Istanbul suicide bombing injures police and civilians

The bombing in the city's central Taksim Square injures 10 police officers and 12 civilians, Istanbul's police chief says.

Police officers surround the scene, firefighters and ambulances wait after an explosion close to a spot in Taksim square where riot police were stationed in case of demonstrations in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010.  A suicide bomber blew himself up near police watching over Istanbul's main square on Sunday, wounding 22 people, including 10 policemen, officials said.(AP Photo/Hurriyet) ** TURKEY OUT - INTERNET OUT **
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ISTANBUL // A suspected suicide bomber injured at least 22 people in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square today, Turkish media reported.

Among the 22 injured, six were police and nine were civilians and the attacker appeared to be male, the Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said. It was unclear if the bomber had been killed by the explosion.

“It appears to be a suicide bomber. At the moment there are six citizens and nine police injured. We have no martyrs,” he said, referring to any victims. Two of the wounded were in a serious condition, he said.

Mr Capkin said the blast targeted the police but it was unclear who was behind the attack. PKK rebels as well as other groups have in the past set off bombs in Istanbul.

Al Qa’eda militants were behind bomb attacks in Istanbul in 2003 that killed 57 people and wounded hundreds.

Television pictures showed security forces directing emergency services towards the scene of the blast. A bomb disposal unit was also at the scene in case of a second explosive device, Turkish media said. Taksim Square was sealed off.

The square is a major tourist attraction and transport hub, surrounded by restaurants, shops and hotels, and at the heart of modern Istanbul. It houses the Republic Monument which was built in 1928 to commemorate the creation of the Turkish Republic.