Istanbul Explosion: What We Know So Far

Turkish officials have identified the attacker as an ISIS member.

Policemen patrol at the historic Sultanahmet district after Tuesday’s deadly explosion in Istanbul. (Emrah Gurel / AP)

Updated on January 12 at 10:27 a.m.

What we know about the explosion in Istanbul:

—At least 10 people are dead and 15 wounded. Turkish news reports quote the prime minister as telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the victims are mostly German. He later said all the victims were foreigners.

—The blast occurred in the historic Sultanahmet district, which is home to the Blue Mosque and is popular with tourists.

—President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber of “Syrian origin.” The deputy prime minister said the bomber was born in 1988. He was later identified as Saudi-born Nabil Fadli. The deputy prime minister said he’d recently entered Turkey from Syria.

Most of the victims of Tuesday’s suicide attack in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district that killed 10 people and wounded 15 others were German, Turkey’s prime minister has told the German Chancellor. Ahmet Davutoglu, the prime minister, later said all the victims were foreigners.

Turkish officials also identified the bomber as Nabil Fadli, who was born in Saudi Arabia. They had earlier identified the attacker as a Syrian born in 1988. It’s unclear if he held dual citizenship, Syrian citizenship, or if Turkish officials had misspoken earlier.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attacker was of “Syrian origin.” Numan Kurtulmuş, the deputy prime minister, said the bomber was born in 1988. He said the attacker had recently entered Turkey from Syria.

Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister, telephoned Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to tell her most of the victims were German. He later said all the victims were foreigners, and that the bombers was an ISIS member. The nationalities of the other victims are unclear.

The Istanbul governor’s office, on its website, said the blast killed 10 people and wounded 15 others. Six Germans, a Norwegian, and a Peruvian were among the injured, the office said.

A spokeswoman for Norway’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters a Norwegian citizen was being treated in hospital for light, non-life-threatening injuries. The German Foreign Ministry, in a statement on its website, urged its citizens to be careful in Turkey, citing more political tensions, violent conflicts, and terrorist attacks.

Sultanahmet, home to the historic Blue Mosque, is popular with tourists. CNN Turk reported that the attacker struck near the Obelisk of Theodosius, which dates to the 4th century.

Although no one has claimed responsibility yet for the blast, Turkey has a seen a string of recent attacks that have killed dozens. The government is battling far-left groups, as well as militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has also been fighting the Islamic State group, which is believed to have struck in Ankara, the capital, last October killing more than 100 people, and last July near the border with Syria, where more than 30 people were killed.

Turkey, which borders Syria, supports rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was an ally of Erdogan until before the Syrian civil war began nearly five years ago. But Ankara is also opposed to ISIS, as the Islamic State is also known, and is part of the U.S.-led coalition that is fighting the group.

The Syrian civil war has spawned a massive humanitarian disaster and created 4.6 million refugees, of whom 2.5 million live in Turkey, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.