REUTERS - A suicide bombing in Istanbul on Saturday killed two American citizens, the White House said in a statement, with an Israeli official later confirming that the two held dual Israeli citizenship, raising the potential Israeli death toll in the attack to three.
"We are in close touch with Turkish authorities and reaffirm our commitment to work together with Turkey to confront the evil of terrorism," White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Later, asked whether he could confirm the two victims, whose names have not been released, were dual Israel-U.S. nationals, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said "yes."
The suicide bomber killed at least two Israelis and two other people in a busy shopping district in the heart of Istanbul, the fourth such attack in Turkey so far this year. Another victim was reportedly an Iranian national.
One of the Israeli victims has been named as 60-year-old Simcha Damari, a mother of four. Her husband was wounded in the attack, according to reports.
Unconfirmed Turkish reports identified the Istanbul terrorist as 33-year-old Savaş Yulduz.
The blast took place shortly before 11 A.M. on Istiklal Street, a major shopping and tourist district in central Istanbul, and sent panicked shoppers scurrying into side alleys off the long pedestrian avenue, a few hundred meters from an area where police buses are often stationed.
Thirty-six people were wounded, among them eleven Israelis, two of whom are in serious condition. The Foreign Ministry said that the Israelis who were wounded in the blast were part of a 14-member tour group.
"Today's attack in Istanbul has shown us once again that the international community as a whole should act in a resolute manner against the ignoble objectives of terrorist organizations," Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu said in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Turkish foreign minister said in response to the bombing that the "fight against terrorism to continue with full force."
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which two senior officials said could have been carried out by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), fighting for Kurdish autonomy in the southeast, or by an Islamic State militant.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now