An explosion rocked central Istanbul on Sunday afternoon, with injuries reported in what is a popular tourist area.
The governor of Istanbul, Ali Yerlikaya, tweeted that the explosion took place on Istiklal Street in Beyoglu Square.
“Our police, health, fire and AFAD teams were sent to the scene,” he said, adding that there are deaths and injuries. “Developments will be shared with the public,” he said.
Meanwhile, the country’s official Anadolu news agency tweeted in English that there are “casualties after explosion in Istanbul’s Istiklal street.”
Local media reports and images from the area showed a large number of emergency vehicles in the aftermath of the blast, with at least one person receiving medical attention. Some people could be seen fleeing the scene in the pictures and the area was being cordoned off by security services.
The cause of the explosion is not known and CNN cannot independently verify whether there are any casualties.
One eyewitness, Tariq Keblaoui, told CNN that several people could be seen lying on the ground following the blast on Istiklal Street.
Keblaoui said he was in a store on Istiklal Street when the explosion occurred about 10 meters ahead of him.
It was not clear the extent of the injuries of those he saw but several people were bleeding from their legs and arms, he said.
Keblaoui said Istiklal Street, a popular tourist area, was heavily crowded on Sunday. Istiklal Street is one of the main streets leading to Taksim Square.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu called for assistance for police and health worker teams as they respond to the explosion in the city.
“It is essential to assist our police and health teams regarding the explosion on Istiklal Street, and to avoid posts that may cause fear and panic. All relevant teams are in the region, we will provide healthy information,” he tweeted.
This is a developing story.