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Police officer dies after woman sets off suicide bomb in Istanbul

Police officer dies after woman sets off suicide bomb in Istanbul
A Turkish police officer stands guard near a police station where a woman detonated a suicide bomb Jan. 6 in Istanbul's main tourist district of Sultanahmet. (Bulent Kilic / AFP/Getty Images)

A woman wearing a face veil carried out a suicide bombing near one of Istanbul's most famous tourist sites Tuesday, killing one police officer and wounding another.

The bombing took place in a police station near the famed Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia museum in Istanbul's Sultanahmet tourist area, parts of which were cordoned off for an investigation, Turkish media reported.

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The woman was attempting to enter the police station near Sultanahmet Square on the pretext of having left her wallet inside when guards stopped her at the entrance, Istanbul Gov. Vasif Sahin told reporters Tuesday. She spoke heavily accented English, Sahin said.

Two officers were hurt in the bombing, and one of them later died of his injuries, authorities said.

Authorities secured the blast area and halted public transportation into the neighborhood, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

It was the second attack on an Istanbul police station in less than a week. On Thursday, police overpowered a man after he threw grenades at a security checkpoint near the prime minister's office and engaged guards in an exchange of gunfire.

The outlawed leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack.

Police suspect the same group may have been behind Tuesday's suicide bombing, Turkish media reported. In its statement claiming responsibility for the earlier attack, the group had warned that it was going to "bring down your palaces and your reign. We will bury you under those palaces."

Social media linked to the DHKP-C identified the bomber by name, saying she was a 26-year-old member of the group.

However, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu issued a statement from Ankara, the capital, emphasizing that authorities have not confirmed her identity nor ties to any terrorist group.

"We have given instructions for a comprehensive investigation," he told reporters.

Police said they found additional, unexploded devices on the bomber and carried out three controlled explosions at the scene.

Special correspondent Farooq reported from Gaziantep and Times staff writer Williams from Los Angeles.

Follow @cjwilliamslat for the latest international news 24/7

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