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Several killed, many others injured as strong explosion rocks major square in central Istanbul

A strong explosion in a busy area at the heart of a busy pedestrian street in Turkey's port city of Istanbul has left several people dead and many others injured, according to the local governor, published videos and Turkish media.

The blast, reportedly caused by a bomb, occurred shortly after 4:00 pm (1300 GMT) on Sunday in the famous Istiklal shopping street in the Beyoglu district, which is popular with locals and tourists.

According to early reports, the blast has left 11 people dead and 15 others injured.

State broadcaster TRT and other media showed ambulances and police heading to the scene.

The nearby Kasimpasa police station said all crews were at the scene but gave no further details.

The area has been evacuated.

Images shared on social media at the time of the explosion indicated it could be heard from far away and that there were also flames. A wide black crater is also visible on the images as well as several bodies on the ground nearby.

Istiklal avenue was affected during a series of attacks targeting Istanbul in 2015-2016 claimed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

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