Korean injured slightly in Istanbul bombing

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Korean injured slightly in Istanbul bombing

A Korean on a group tour was slightly injured in the suicide bomb attack on the popular Turkish tourist spot of Sultanahmet Square, which killed at least 10 people, all foreign tourists.

A group of Korean tourists were close to the blast in the heart of a historic district in Istanbul Tuesday, near a 3,500-year-old Egyptian obelisk, the iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The Korea group was confirmed to be safe afterwards.

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Tuesday evening that one Korean national received a slight injury on the back of a finger.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber affiliated with the Islamic State or ISIS terrorist group. Turkish authorities said the bomber, in his late 20s, entered Turkey from Syria. He died in the blast.

The prime minister also pledged to “fight against terror” and will continue to work with the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS, which Korea is also a part of.

Most of the people killed in Tuesday’s blast were German nationals, according to media reports.

The Foreign Ministry immediately held an emergency meeting, presided over by Lee Key-cheol, deputy minister for overseas Koreans, to review safety measures to protect citizens abroad.

The ministry sent safety warning notices via SNS to some 2,400 travelers to Turkey and also informed embassies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to bolster their counterterrorism postures to ensure the safety of Koreans abroad.

The Korean Embassy in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, deployed an official to the consulate in Istanbul.

The Korean Foreign Ministry condemned the attack and warned Korean travelers to Istanbul to avoid visiting areas with a high concentration of people, like major tourist areas, and not to use public transportation.

It added that it is considering raising Korea’s four-stage travel warning from level one to level two for Istanbul.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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