EU, Israel condemn Istanbul bomb attacks

Brussels, Dec 11 (IANS) The European Union (EU) on Sunday strongly condemned the twin bombing attacks that hit central Istanbul and left 38 dead.

“We reaffirm our strong condemnation of all acts of terror and confirm our continued commitment to work together closely with Turkey in combatting the threat of terrorism,” Xinhua news agency cited an EU statement.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those who lost their lives and wish the injured a speedy recovery,” it added.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also expressed “deep concerns” over repeated terror attacks hitting neighbouring Turkey and urged world countries to deliver a “decisive” response to the acts of violence perpetrated by extremist terrorists.

Denouncing the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “In the struggle against terrorism, there has to be mutuality in condemnation as well as in thwarting the attacks, and that is Israel’s expectation from all countries it has relations with.”

French President Francois Hollande expressed full support to Turkish authorities in fighting terrorism, his office said in a statement.

Two explosions rocked central Istanbul near Besiktas’s Vodafone Arena Stadium late on Saturday about 90 minutes after a football match ended, leaving 38 people killed and 155 others wounded.

The heaviest casualty was caused in the first attack in which a moving car was detonated, directly targeting riot police on duty.

Forty-five seconds later, a man blew himself up in Macka Park just across the stadium, killing four police officers and one civilian.

Turkey’s largest city Istanbul and its capital Ankara have come under a spate of deadly attacks over the past year amid a deteriorating security situation.

Istanbul was last attacked in late June, when three suicide bombers assaulted the city’s major international airport and killed 45 people.