Kurdish group TAK claims pair of deadly blasts in Istanbul

December 11, 2016, 12:09pm

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks have claimed responsibility for two deadly blasts outside an Istanbul soccer stadium Saturday evening that left at least 38 people dead and 160 wounded.

One of the two suicide attackers drove a car equipped with a bomb into a police vehicle; the other blew himself up, the BBC said. Both attacks occurred near the Besiktas soccer stadium, where a top division game had recently ended. Thirty of the 38 people killed were police officers.


A cellphone video captured one of the blasts.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, which go by the acronym TAK, are a splinter faction of the PKK, an armed Kurdish group.

TAK claimed responsibility in a statement on its website Sunday, SITE Intelligence Group director Rita Katz reported. The group said the explosions were acts of revenge for the continuing struggle in southeastern Turkey, “Turkish fascism,” and the ongoing imprisonment of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

TAK has claimed responsibility for other acts of violence in Turkey over the past year, including two attacks in the capital, Ankara, and one in Istanbul.

Speaking at a funeral in Istanbul Sunday for five of the slain police officers, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed that his government would “fight terrorism to the end,” Al Jazeera reported.