At least six people have been killed and 81 wounded in an explosion in a busy area of central Istanbul, Turkish authorities have said, according to BBC News.
The blast happened at about 16:20 local time (13:20 GMT) on a shopping street in the Taksim Square area, the Turkish city’s governor Ali Yerlikaya said.
Vice-President Fuat Oktay said the blast was thought to be a terrorist attack carried out by a woman.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the perpetrators would be punished.
Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, he condemned what he called the “vile attack” and said “the smell of terror” was in the air.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the blast.
Government minister Derya Yanik wrote in a tweet that a father and his young daughter were among the victims.
BBC correspondent Orla Guerin, who is in the area, said there was a heavy police presence around Istiklal Street, which had been cordoned off. Helicopters were circling overhead as ambulances went back and forth.
Many shopkeepers standing in their doorways on the normally bustling street looked stunned, she said, adding that the incident will have come as a shock to many in the city.
Hayat, who was in an internet café on Istiklal Street when the blast took place, said there was turmoil following the explosion.
“I saw people running around and wounded people were passing by the internet café towards hospital,” she said. “It was a frenzy.”
Another eyewitness, Cemal Denizci, was about 50m (54 yards) from where the blast took place when it happened. “There was black smoke. The noise was so strong, almost deafening,” he told AFP.
The street – one of the city’s main arteries which is usually packed with shoppers – was previously targeted by a suicide bomber in 2016.
Image source: BBC News