Just minutes after last guests left the stadium, a huge explosion shook Vodafone Arena. Most likely target of the terror attack was the police force still deployed around the stadium.
It was supposed to be a joyful Saturday evening for Beşiktaş supporters as their team beat Bursaspor 2:1 at Vodafone Arena. Not only do they have a bitter rivalry with the “Crocodiles”, but the victory moved them way in front of Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, topping the Super Lig table.
Unfortunately the mood was shattered as a massive explosion happened over 2 hours after the game just meters away from the main grandstand of Vodafone Arena. By that time all of the regular fans had already dispersed, but some guests and employees were still leaving the west stand. And, most importantly, police forces deployed for the game were still waiting for their buses.
Most likely version, based on official statements, CCTV and social media reporting, suggests the explosives were transported in a moving car (there is no regular parking on that side of the stadium and any abandoned vehicle would have been towed) and the Ministry of Interior estimates up to 400 kg of explosives were used. They were detonated as the car was near police officers, causing an explosion clearly visible from the second side of the Bosporus.
Initial reports suggested that some 20 officers were wounded but photos emerging in media coverage made it clear there were casualties. One of the victims actually landed on the roof of Vodafone Arena, another officer was thrown down a road tunnel.
The death toll is reported at 38 with some 155 people in hospitals, vast majority of them police officials (30 of those killed).
According to official information there was a second explosion shortly after the first one, by a suicide bomber on foot, who was waiting in nearby park.
Kurdish organisation TAK (splinter group of PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack.