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Suicide bomb attack in Istanbul's Sultanahmet area kills police officer

Police cordoned off a tourist area of Istanbul and emergency services rushed to the scene dealing with a number of reported injuries
A police officer stands guard on a street leading to a police station after a suicide bomber was killed (AFP)

One police officer was killed and at least one more injured in Turkey’s Istanbul on Tuesday, after a female suicide bomber detonated herself at a patrol in the central area of Sultanahmet.

The attack took place in a popular tourist area of downtown Istanbul. No group has as yet claimed responsibility for the attack. While initially two officers were reported injured, one subsequently died of his injuries, the local NTV channel reported.

The female suicide bomber – as yet unidentified – “exploded herself prematurely before going into the police building, as she was prevented by the guards at the entrance,” the Cihan news agency reported.

Emergency services rushed to the scene in the Sultanahmet district, which is the home of world famous attractions including the Blue Mosque and Aga Sophia museum, and police cordoned off the area.

The attack came five days after a member of an outlawed Marxist group attacked police on guard outside the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce palace in Istanbul on the Bosphorus. Turkey also suffers from a long-standing Kurdish insurgency, with many analysts also suggesting that groups liked to the Islamic State (IS) group were gaining a stronger foothold in the country.