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Fire engines stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district

Fire engines stand beside a Turkish police bus which was targeted in a bomb attack in a central Istanbul district, Turkey, June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal – RTSGBQU

Deadly car bomb attack in Istanbul, Turkey

A car bomb struck a police vehicle in Istanbul during rush hour on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding 36 others in what marks the fourth bombing to hit the Turkish city this year.

There was no immediate responsibility claim but Turkey has witnessed an increase in violence linked to Kurdish rebels and Islamic State militants.

Speaking at the scene of the blast in Beyazit district, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin said a bomb placed inside a car detonated as a police vehicle passed by. The dead included seven police officers and four civilians, he said. At least three of the wounded were in serious condition.

Sahin declined to comment on who may be behind the attack and authorities imposed a news blackout preventing media from reporting details of the probe, citing concerns over security and police and forensic efforts to investigate the attack.

Recent Istanbul attacks have targeted security forces and tourism sites, contributing to a sharp dip in tourism and taking a toll on the economy.

Tuesday’s bomb went off in a bustling Istanbul neighborhood just north of the iconic Golden Horn, where the Bosphorus Strait meets the Sea of Marmara. The area is home to the offices of provincial authorities, three universities and ancient sites including Roman-era aqueducts.

The police bus was flipped over by the force of the blast, which also damaged nearby buildings, among them a closed hotel whose entrance appeared gutted and windows were blown out. The blast also shattered the stained glass windows of a famous 16th-century Ottoman mosque, Sehzadebasi.

It wrecked several cars and forced the cancellation of some exams at nearby Istanbul University.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited some of the wounded at Istanbul’s Haseki hospital, where two people were undergoing surgery. (AP)

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