Twin Bombings Kill 29, Wound 166 in Istanbul: Turkish Minister | NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Twin Bombings Kill 29, Wound 166 in Istanbul: Turkish Minister

The attack targeted police officers stationed near an Istanbul soccer stadium after a match

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A view of Besiktas football club stadium, following at attack in Istanbul, Dec. 10, 2016. Two loud explosions have been heard near the newly built soccer stadium and witnesses at the scene said gunfire could be heard in what appeared to have been an armed attack on police.

    Twin attacks by a suicide bomber and a car bomber near an Istanbul soccer stadium Saturday night killed 29 people and wounded 166 others in the latest large-scale assault to traumatize a nation confronting an array of security threats.

    The bombs targeted police officers, killing 27 of them along with two civilians, Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters early Sunday. He added that 10 people had been arrested in connection with the "terrorist attack."

    The civilian death toll was lower because fans had already left the newly built Vodafone Arena Stadium after the soccer match when the blasts occurred. Witnesses also heard gunfire after the explosions.

    "We have once again witnessed tonight in Istanbul the ugly face of terror which tramples on every value and decency," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement. 

    Former Skinheads Help White Extremists Shed Hate

    [NATL] Former Skinheads Help White Extremists Shed Hate
    Activists are combating what many see as a surge in white nationalism across the United States. And they’re doing it by helping members quit groups, including the Ku Klux Klan and skinhead organizations.
    (Published 4 hours ago)

    The first bomb went off just outside the facility known popularly as Besiktas Stadium after the local team and neighborhood. The second blast that came moments later was attributed by authorities to a suicide bomber.

    Police cordoned off the area as smoke rose from behind the stadium and ambulances began ferrying the wounded to hospitals. Glass from the blown-out windows of nearby buildings littered the pavement.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility. This year, Istanbul has witnessed a spate of attacks attributed by authorities to the Islamic State group or claimed by Kurdish militants. A state of emergency is in force following a failed July 15 coup attempt. 

    Soylu acknowledged the country was struggling against "many elements" trying to compromise its fight against terrorism.

    Raw: Airport Video Shows Attack on Brother of N. Korea's Kim

    [NATL] Raw: Airport Video Shows Attack on Brother of N. Korea's Kim
    Surveillance video obtained by Fuji TV seems to show the moment Kim Jong Nam (wearing pale grey suit and carrying black backpack), the estranged half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, was attacked at Kuala Lumpur international airport.
    (Published Monday, Feb. 20, 2017)

    Turkey is a partner in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State and its armed forces are active in neighboring Syria and Iraq. It is also facing a renewed conflict with an outlawed Kurdish movement in the southeast.

    Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Washington condemns the attack in "the strongest terms." 

    "We stand together with Turkey, our NATO Ally, against all terrorists who threaten Turkey, the United States, and global peace and stability," Price said in a statement.

    A taxi driver at the site of the Istanbul bombings said their force made him hit his head on the taximeter and that his ears were still ringing from the blasts and screaming that followed.

    Heavy Metal Fans Decry Cancelation of Band's Oakland Gig

    [NATL-BAY] 'Nobody's a Nazi Here': Heavy Metal Fans Decry Cancelation of Band's Oakland Gig
    A Swedish heavy metal band scheduled to rock the Metro Operahouse in Oakland Saturday night didn't even see the stage. Marianne Favro reports.
    (Published Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017)

    "Amid the screams I heard an officer saying 'do not shout! Do not make them (the perpetrators) be satisfied," said Ismail Coskun.

    The first and larger explosion took place about 7:30 p.m. GMT after the home team Besiktas beat visitor Bursaspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super League. Erdogan said the timing of the attack aimed to maximize the loss of life and vowed the nation would overcome terrorism.

    Soylu said the first explosion was caused by a passing vehicle that detonated in an area where police special forces were located at the stadium exit right after the match. A riot police bus appears to have been the target.

    Kurdish militants often target security forces while Islamic State-linked attacks have targeted tourists and the broader public.

    Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said a person who had been stopped in the nearby Macka Park committed suicide by triggering explosives.

    Investigators, including Istanbul Police Chief Mustafa Caliskan, were quickly on the scene. Forensic experts in white uniforms scoured the vicinity of the stadium and the vast park where the suicide bombing took place.

    The Besiktas sports club "strongly condemned" the attack and said an employee of one of its stores was among the fatalities, as well as a member of its congress who was also responsible for security at the stadium.

    Bursaspor reported that none of the wounded were fans and issued a statement wishing "a speedy recovery to our wounded citizens."

    Trump Holds Campaign-Style Rally in Florida

    [NATL] Trump Holds Campaign-Style Rally in Florida
    President Donald Trump held a campaign-style rally in Melbourne, Florida, Saturday evening. Thousands of the president's supporters attended the rally, which was held in a hangar at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. The president once again slammed the media for telling so-called lies about his administration. The president also told supporters that his administration is running "smoothly."
    (Published Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017)

    Health Minister Recep Akdag said six of the wounded remained in intensive care, with three of them in critical condition. 

    Aleksander Ceferin, president of European soccer's governing body UEFA, and European Union Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, also made statements condemning the attack.

    "Violence has no place in a democratic society," Hahn wrote on Twitter.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini expressed the bloc's "solidarity with Turkish citizens'"

    LA Sinkhole Swallows 2 Cars

    [NATL-LA] Sinkhole Swallows Two Cars in Studio City
    Two cars fell into a sinkhole in Studio City, California. Beverly White reports for NBC4 News on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.
    (Published Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017)

    The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, meanwhile, urged its citizens to avoid the area which is also home to a Ritz Carlton hotel.

    Turkey's radio and television board issued a temporary coverage ban citing national security concerns. It said "to avoid broadcasts that can result in public fear, panic or chaos, or that will serve the aims of terrorist organizations."