ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A bomb exploded in central Istanbul on Sunday, and police detonated two others in controlled explosions, less than two weeks after a suicide bombing killed a police officer.
No one was injured when a homemade bomb left near a power substation in Fatih district exploded, Sabah newspaper said.
Meanwhile, a bomb disposal unit safely detonated a similar device in the Maltepe district on the city’s Asian side that was left beneath a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic, Sabah said.
Police also deactivated a package containing a bomb that had been left at a bus stop in the working-class suburb of Sultangazi, the daily said on its website.
The two bombs disposed of by police had messages that linked them to Kurdish groups, news reports said. Police were not immediately available to confirm the reports.
Homemade explosive devices were found in two shopping malls in Istanbul and deactivated on Jan. 11.
Kurdish separatists, Islamist radicals and far-left groups have all staged deadly bomb attacks in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city and a major European tourist destination.
A suicide bomber killed herself and a police officer on Jan. 6 in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s historic center.
The hard-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) claimed responsibility, then retracted the claim and said a mistake had arisen because it was planning another attack.
Since then, media have cited police sources as saying the bomber in Sultanahmet was a Russian citizen from the Muslim regions of Chechnya or Dagestan with links to Islamic State.
Hundreds of fighters from Russia’s north Caucasus, including Chechnya, are believed to have traveled through Turkey to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and European governments have urged Ankara to tighten border controls to prevent the flow of foreign fighters.
Without saying how it obtained the information, newspapers including Taraf on Sunday reported the Sultanahmet bomber had stayed at the same hotel in Istanbul as Hayat Boumeddiene, the partner of one of the militants in the Paris shootings that killed 17 people earlier this month.
Turkish authorities said Boumeddiene traveled to Turkey before the attacks and left for Syria on Jan. 8.
Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Rosalind Russell