A busy shopping center in Istanbul was rocked Saturday morning by an explosion on Istiklal Street that killed 4 and injured 36.
It is the fourth such attack Turkey has suffered this year and the sixth since July. Two Americans are confirmed to have been among the casualties of the explosion. According to the governor of Istanbul, of the 36 injured, at least 24 were foreigners.
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg publicly condemned the attack, calling it, “yet another terrorist outrage targeting innocent civilians and our ally Turkey.”
“My deepest sympathies go out to the families of the victims, and to the people of Turkey. My thoughts are also with all those who have been injured. NATO allies stand with Turkey, united in our determination to fight terrorism in all its forms,” Stoltenberg stated.
“The United States stands in solidarity with our NATO ally Turkey in combating the common threat of terrorism. These acts of terrorism only reinforce our determination to support all those across the region working to promote peace and reconciliation,” said U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby.
DNA tests have confirmed the bomber was Turkish citizen Mehmet Ozturk. Ozturk was from the city of Gaziantep in the southern region of Turkey near the Syrian border. He was previously suspected of having ties to the Islamic State in the Levant. ISIL itself has yet to claim responsibility for the attack.
Tourists and local residents alike paid their respects by leaving flowers and notes at the site of the attack. The notes bore messages including “We will not get used to terror” and “We are not going anywhere.”