POST TIME: 12 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 December, 2016 01:25:49 AM
Bomb blasts kill 83 in Turkey, Egypt, Somalia

Bomb blasts kill 83 in Turkey, Egypt, Somalia

Egyptian security forces gather at the site of an explosion at the Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral yesterday in the Abbasiya neighbourhood in the capital Cairo. AFP photo

At least 83 people were killed in separate bomb blasts in Istanbul, Cairo and Mogadishu yesterday and Saturday night, reports AFP. Turkey observed a day of mourning yesterday after twin bombings killed 38 people near an Istanbul football stadium in attacks authorities said were likely the work of Kurdish militants. Meanwhile, a bomb blast tore through a church near Cairo’s Coptic cathedral during a service, killing at least 25 people. In Somali capital Mogadishu, over 20 people were killed yesterday in a suicide truck bombing, police said, in a fresh strike claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group. In Istanbul, a car bomb detonated on Saturday night outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas after a Super League match against Bursaspor, and less than a minute later a suicide attacker blew himself up near a group of police at a nearby park. In a solemn ceremony at Istanbul’s police headquarters the leaders spoke with the victims’ families and watched as officers carried their coffins draped with the Turkish flag.
People also gathered outside the Besiktas stadium to lay flowers, many holding Turkish flags and shouting “Down with the PKK!” and “Our homeland is indivisible!”
Soylu said 30 police, seven civilians and an unidentified person had died in the blasts and 155 were wounded. Thirteen people have been detained over the blasts.
“The findings point to the PKK as the authors” of the attacks, Soylu said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).  “Experts say at least 300-400 kilogrammes of explosives had been used. There was a pit where the car detonated,” he said. A forensic team yesterday inspected the stadium and the park to collect evidence, an AFP journalist said, while municipal workers cleaned up the area.
Besiktas is one of Istanbul’s most popular football clubs, and its fans are known for their anti-establishment views and famously played a big role in the 2013 protests against Erdogan, who was then prime minister. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday’s attack.
In Cairo, a bomb blast tore through a church near Cairo’s Coptic cathedral during a service Sunday, killing at least 25 people in the deadliest attack in recent memory on Egypt’s Christian minority.
There was no immediate claim of responsiblity for the bombing but Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population, have been previously targeted in jihadist attacks.
At least 31 people were also wounded in the blast, the health ministry said, as the attack drew condemnation from political and religious leaders and led President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare three days of national mourning.
The bombing hit around 10:00 am at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church, which is adjacent to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope Tawadros II.
A bomb made of 12 kilos of TNT appeared to have been behind the explosion, security officials said.
 “I was leaving the church and then I heard a loud explosion and there was a lot of smoke and people started running and screaming,” Jackline Abdel Shahid, one of the survivors of the blast, told AFP at the scene.
An angry group of about 25 people had gathered near the area to protest after the bombing, chanting for the resignation of Egypt’s interior minister.
It was the worst attack on the Coptic Christian community since a 2011 suicide bombing killed more than 20 worshippers outside a church in the coastal city of Alexandria.
Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar rushed to the area after the blast and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail called on security services to quickly find those responsible.
“The nation’s Muslim and Christian citizens stand together against this black terrorism,” Ismail said in the statement. Sisi also condemned the attack, saying in a statement: “Egypt will only emerge stronger and more unified from these events.” Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Egypt’s top Sunni Muslim authority Al-Azhar, said the “vile terrorist explosion” was “a great crime against all Egyptians”.
Meanwhile, more than 20 people were killed yesterday in a suicide truck bombing in Mogadishu, a strike claimed by the Shabaab group.
"The tally we have made so far indicates that more than 20 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the blast," said Ibrahim Mohamed, a Somali police commander.
He said the toll might rise further as the injured and dead had been taken to different hospitals around the city. It was unclear how many people had been in the vicinity of the blast. Abdikadir Abdirahman Adem, director of Mogadishu's AMIN ambulance service, said his staff had transported 48 injured people to hospital. "The bomber targeted a civilian area. There were porters and other small-scale traders in the area when the blast occurred," said Mohamed. In a chaotic scene after the explosion in the seaport area, an AFP journalist saw bystanders hauling bodies away on makeshift stretchers, overturned chairs and tables and scattered belongings. A Somali security officer meanwhile guarded a suspected jihadist, blindfolded, on the back of a black pickup truck.