Istanbul blast: Leftist group claims suicide attack

Forensic officers work at the scene of a bomb blast in Istanbul
Image caption Forensics teams were dispatched to the scene of the explosion

A Turkish leftist group has said it carried out a suicide bombing outside a police station in Istanbul which killed a policeman and injured several people.

A security source told Reuters news agency the claim by the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (Dev Sol) was plausible.

An attacker hurled a grenade before blowing himself up at the station in the western suburb of Sultangazi.

The group is deemed a terrorist organisation by both the US and Turkey.

Active since 1978, it has been fighting to set up a socialist state in Turkey and is opposed to both the existing establishment and the US.

Four other policemen and three civilians were injured in Tuesday's attack, police said.

Images broadcast on Turkish TV showed damage to the main entrance of the building

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet named the suicide bomber as Ibrahim Cuhadar, said to be a Dev Sol member who had previously served eight months in prison for participating in illegal demonstrations.

The policeman who was killed, Bulent Ozkan, reportedly managed to fire two shots at the attacker but was unable to stop him detonating explosives strapped to his body.

Suicide bomb attacks are rare in Turkey. However, a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group reportedly blew himself up earlier this month during an attack in the south-eastern province of Sanliurfa.

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