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10 dead after explosion rocks Istanbul's major tourist hub

An explosion has killed 10 people and wounded 15 others in Istanbul's Sultanahmet District.

Turkish police block access to the Blue Mosque area on 12 January 2016 after a blast in Istanbul's tourist hub of Sultanahmet, which left 10 people dead and 15 wounded in a suspected terrorist attack. Picture: AFP.

ISTANBUL - An explosion in the heart of Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet tourist district killed at least ten people and wounded 15 on Tuesday and some local media reports said a suicide bomber may have been responsible.

Several bodies lay on the ground in the Sultanahmet square, close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, a major tourist area of Turkey's most populous city. A police officer and witness at the scene reported also seeing several bodies and body parts.

Civilians trying to rescue people in an overturned car. © #BreakingNews #Sultanahmet #Istanbul #Turkey pic.twitter.com/y3spVKj6Us

another Istanbul blast site video, initial reports suggest at least 10 dead pic.twitter.com/e7Ox3hfjhR Turkey

  • Khalid Khan™ (@khalidkhan787) January 12, 2016 The Istanbul governor's office said the authorities were investigating the type of explosive used and who might have been responsible for the attack. It said ten people were killed and 15 wounded but gave no further details.

"The explosion was very loud. We shook a lot. We ran out and saw body parts," one woman who works at a nearby antiques store told Reuters, declining to give her name.

Turkey's AHaber television said the blast may have been caused by a suicide bomber but this was not independently confirmed.

Ambulances rushed to the scene, ferrying away the wounded as police cordoned off streets.

WATCH: Bomb rocks Istanbul's central tourist district

"We're taking precautions against a second explosion," a police officer said, ushering people out of the square.

The blast comes just over a year after a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a police station for tourists off the same square, killing one officer and wounding another. That attack was initially claimed by a far-left group, but later turned out to have been perpetrated by a woman with suspected Islamist militant links, officials said.

Kurdish, leftist and Islamist militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.

Turkey has also become a target for Islamic State, with two bombings last year blamed on the radical Sunni Muslim group, in the town of Suruc near the Syrian border and in the capital Ankara, the latter killing more than 100 people.

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