At least six people were killed and 81 injured in an explosion on a busy street in Istanbul. Turkish authorities reported this information.

Turkish city governor Ali Yarlikaya said the explosion occurred at around 4:20 a.m. local time on a street in central Istanbul’s Taksim Square area, where shopping is done. BBC news.

A suspect has been arrested in this incident, said the country’s interior minister.

Vice-President Fuat Okte said the blast appeared to be a terrorist attack carried out by a woman.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the perpetrators would be punished.

Addressing a press conference in Istanbul, he condemned the incident, calling it a ‘brutal attack’. Erdogan said the ‘smell of terror’ was in the air.

A woman had been sitting on a bench in the area for more than 40 minutes minutes before the explosion, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told Turkish media.

On Monday morning, Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said police had arrested a suspect who threw the bomb. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is being blamed for the incident.

The PKK is a militant group that calls for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. The EU and US consider it a terrorist organization.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Government Minister Deria Yannick wrote in a tweet that among the dead were an employee of the government ministry and his young daughter.

BBC correspondent Orla Guerin, who was in the area, said there was a heavy police presence around Istiklal Street, cordoning off the area. Helicopters hover overhead.

Hayat, who was at an Internet cafe on Istiklal Street when the explosion occurred, said, “I saw people running and injured people walking past the Internet cafe towards the hospital.”

“There was black smoke,” another witness, who was about 50 meters (54 yards) from where the explosion occurred, told AFP. The noise was so powerful, almost deafening.

In the wake of the attack, the world is expressing condolences to Turkey.

The United States says it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO allies in the fight against terrorism, White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted in Turkish, “We share your pain… We are with you in the fight against terrorism.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also tweeted in Turkish, “The pain of the friendly Turkish people is our pain.”

Other countries including Pakistan, Italy and Greece also expressed solidarity.

Istiklal is one of the main arteries of the city which is usually packed with shoppers. The site was previously targeted by a suicide bomber in 2016

(14 November/FA)