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Turkey terror suspect seen escaping with a rose in hand

Turkish authorities have released CCTV images of a woman clutching a rose, who they suspect planted a deadly bomb in downtown Istanbul, possibly in a bag.

The female dressed in a hijab, leather jacket, camouflage pants and combat boots was seen sitting on a bench in the busy shopping street Istiklal Avenue for more than 40 minutes.

A couple of minutes after she got up, there was an explosion.

The blast claimed the lives of six people, including a father and daughter, and injured 81 others on Sunday (local time).

A CCTV image of the woman in camouflage clothes who was seen fleeing the scene. Photo: Sozcu/Turkish police

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the explosion was a “vile attack” that “smells like terrorism”.

Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag was quoted on private news outlet TRT Haber saying there were two possibilities for how the blast was carried out, based on early investigations.

“Either that bag or whatever it is, there is a mechanism in it. It explodes by itself or someone detonates it from afar,” he said.

“So all of these are currently being investigated.”

He said the woman’s name was not known but “all the recordings and data about the woman are being analysed”.

The revelations come as authorities said a suspect was in custody.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said the blast was considered a terrorist act.

The woman was caught on camera at different angles making her escape. Photo: Sozcu/Turkish police

He said anyone linked to the bombing would be held to account.

“We will solve this case,” he said.

“We will solve it very soon, and when we do, not only the shooters of this incident, but also whoever is behind these shooters, whoever is in front of them, to their right, to their left, inside or outside, will be held accountable.”

First blast in Turkey in years

The area, in the Beyoglu district of Turkey’s largest city, had been crowded as usual on the weekend with shoppers, tourists and families.

Istanbul and other Turkish cities have been targeted in the past by Kurdish separatists, Islamist militants and other groups.

Sunday’s attack marked the first major bombing in Istanbul in several years.

Twin bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium in December 2016 killed 38 people and wounded 155 in an attack claimed by an offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the US.

– with AAP

Topics: Turkey
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