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Ankara car bomb leaves scores dead and injured

The car bomb targeted a military convoy in Ankara [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2016

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At least 28 people have been killed and 61 injured in a car bomb attack targeting a military convoy in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday.

At least 28 people were killed and 61 people were wounded in a car bombing targeting military vehicles in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has told reporters.

Kurtulmus said there was no indication yet as to who may have carried it out. A previous toll had put the number of people killed at 18.

The bloodshed came on the heels of a string of attacks in Turkey, blamed on Islamist militants and on Kurdish rebels.

Wednesday's car bombing targeted a convoy of military vehicles, Ankara governor Mehmet Kiliclar said, quoted by the CNN-Turk and NTV channels.

Plumes of smoke rose from the scene, close to the headquarters of the Turkish military and the parliament.

The powerful blast was heard all over the city, sending residents to their balconies in panic.

The army said the attack took place at 1631 GMT and had targeted "service vehicles carrying army personnel".

"The terror attack was carried out when the vehicles were waiting for traffic lights at a road junction," it added.

The Islamic State group has been blamed for a string of bombings in the country since the middle of last year but the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has also killed dozens of soldiers in attacks mainly in the southeast of the country

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cancelled a planned visit to Brussels on Thursday after being briefed, his office said.

NTV television said the explosion happened near a residential block for top-level military staff.

Images from the scene showed fire fighters trying to overcome a fierce blaze from wrecked vehicles.

The spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Omer Celik, said on Twitter he strongly condemned the "act of terror".

"But our determination to fight will become even greater," he added.

Turkish police threw a security cordon around the area. A second blast later rocked the area, but local media said this was police detonating a suspicious package.

Previous attacks

The Islamic State group has been blamed for a string of bombings in the country since the middle of last year but the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has also killed dozens of soldiers in attacks mainly in the southeast of the country.

The capital was already on alert after 103 people were killed on 10 October when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of peace activists in Ankara, the bloodiest attack in the country's modern history.

Eleven people, all German tourists, were also killed on 16 January when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the tourist heart of Istanbul.

Those attacks were blamed on IS militants, as were two other deadly bombings in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast earlier in the year.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks detained several suspected IS members, with officials saying they were planning attacks in Istanbul and Ankara.

But Turkey is also waging an all-out assault on the outlawed PKK.

The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, initially fighting for Kurdish independence although now more for greater autonomy and rights for the country's largest ethnic minority.

The conflict, which has left tens of thousands of people dead, looked like it could be nearing a resolution until an uneasy truce was shattered in July.

Turkish artillery in southern Turkey have also been shelling positions of Kurdish fighters in Syria for the fifth day in the row on Wednesday in an escalating standoff.

Turkey says the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) are merely the Syrian branch of the PKK and are themselves "terror groups".






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