The blast, close to the city’s diplomatic enclave and the Presidential Palace, was so intense that it shook the ground and shattered glass in various parts of the city. A huge hole was left at the scene of the explosion.

Waheed Majroh, spokesman for the Health Ministry, confirmed that 90 people died and some 319 were wounded.

An overwhelming majority of the victims are said to be civilians, including the staff of various embassies.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told Anadolu Agency that a tanker loaded with explosives exploded at Zanbaq Square close to the diplomatic enclave at around 8.30 a.m. (0300GMT).

The area where the blast occurred is one of the most secure parts of the country, but the bomber managed to breach the police’s “Ring of Steel” around the diplomatic enclave and cause havoc.