Istanbul Explosion: 4 Killed In Suicide Bombing At Turkish Tourist Area

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ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) – A suicide bomber hit a busy tourist area in central Istanbul on Saturday, killing at least four people, Turkey’s health minister said.

Thirty-six people were injured in the blast, Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu told reporters. Seven are in critical condition and four were undergoing surgery.

“Those who kill are killing humanity,” Muezzinoglu said. “I condemn those who are killing humanity like this.”

Preliminary reports indicate 12 of those injured are from other countries, according to the minister.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that Israelis were among those hurt. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will hold an emergency meeting Saturday afternoon to assess the situation. Since August 2014, Israel has advised its citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Turkey.

A number of Irish citizens were injured as well, according to Ireland’s foreign minister, Charlie Flanagan.

“I am deeply saddened by today’s horrific bomb attack in central Istanbul,” he said.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has updated travel advice on Turkey, urging extreme caution as the terrorism threat remains extremely high.

Police cordoned off Taksim Square after the attack, as helicopters flew overhead and multiple ambulances gathered at the site.

Stunned shoppers ran away from the scene, some in tears.

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

In a statement, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the attack as “yet another terrorist outrage targeting innocent civilians and our Ally Turkey.”

“There can be no justification for terrorism,” the statement said. “NATO Allies stand with Turkey, united in our determination to fight terrorism in all its forms.”

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement, “This vicious attack is the latest in a series of indefensible violence targeting innocent people throughout Turkey — Turkish citizens and international visitors alike. These acts of terrorism only reinforce our determination to support all those across the region working to promote peace and reconciliation.”

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