Fire in Armenian Catholic church in Istanbul kills two people, reports of explosion before fire

ISTANBUL — Yesterday, a fire broke out in the Armenian Catholic church in the Karaköy neighborhood of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Gazete Sabro reports. The cause of the fire is still unknown but investigations are underway.

The fire in the Surp Prgich Church killed two people, a 75-year-old man and a 78-year-old woman, and injured six others, whose health condition is still unknown. Rescue teams managed to get out several other people who were stuck in the burning church building. After four hours, firefighters were able to put out the fire.

In a statement on his official Twitter page, Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament Tuma Çelik expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and hoped for a speedy recovery of the injured.

The MP also said he has learned from reliable sources that they heard three explosions before the fire broke out. Çelik also said that such church fires are not unique and that churches have been deliberately set on fire or burned before. 

If it was arson then that is a serious matter and means Christians could still the target of e.g., ultra-nationalist attacks and this fire should then also be thoroughly investigated.