Sunday, 21 August 2016

Turkey wedding suicide bomber 'was child aged 12-14'

  • 38 minutes ago
  • From the sectionEurope
Women wait outside a morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 21 AugustImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionWomen could be seen mourning outside a morgue in Gaziantep on Sunday
A suicide bombing which killed 51 people in the Turkish city of Gaziantep was carried out by a 12 to 14-year-old, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Mr Erdogan said the so-called Islamic State (IS) was behind the attack, which targeted a Kurdish wedding party. Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several IS cells.
The bomb wounded 69 people, Mr Erdogan added, 17 of them seriously.
The bomber targeted the wedding guests as they danced in the street.
The BBC's Seref Isler, who is from Gaziantep, says the city of 1.5 million was already on edge because of events in Syria, where IS has been battling Syrian Kurdish forces.
A suicide bomber believed to have links to IS killed two policemen in Gaziantepin May.

Was IS behind this? Analysis by Mark Lowen, BBC News, Istanbul

A police officer secures the scene of an explosion where a suspected suicide bomber targeted a wedding celebration in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkey, 21 AugustImage copyrightREUTERS
IS is known to have operatives in Gaziantep.
Turkey has been hit by a series of bombs both by IS and Kurdish militants in the past year. The last IS attack, on Istanbul airport in June, killed more than 40 people.
The jihadists have recently lost ground in northern Syria, including a former stronghold, Manbij. Syrian rebel soldiers are preparing to advance further into the IS-held province of Jarablus.
If this bomb was the work of IS, there will be speculation it was a revenge attack, intended as a show of strength by a group on the defensive.

In a written statement published by local media (in Turkish), Mr Erdogan argued there was "no difference" between IS, the Kurdish militants of the PKK, and followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blames for the coup attempt last month.
"Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us - you will not succeed!" he said.
map of Turkey and Syria showing Gaziantep close to Syrian border

'Blood everywhere'

The bomb went off in a part of town popular with students and which has a large Kurdish community.
Local MP Mahmut Togrul told the Reuters news agency it had been a Kurdish wedding.
Mr Togrul's party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said the wedding had been for one of its members.
Women wait outside a morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 21 AugustImage copyrightREUTERS
Women wait outside a morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 21 AugustImage copyrightEPA
According to a report (in Turkish) by Turkey's Dogan news agency, the couple had moved to Gaziantep from the Kurdish town of Siirt further east to escape fighting between Kurdish rebels and security forces.
On Sunday morning, smashed garage doors and windows could be seen at the site of the blast, Reuters reports.
People in the streets after an explosion in Gaziantep, 20 AugustImage copyrightSTR
Image captionThe streets filled with people just after the blast on Saturday evening
People gather near the explosion site on August 20, 2016 in Gaziantep following a late night militant attack on a wedding party in south-eastern Turkey.Image copyrightSTR
"The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing," said Veli Can, 25.
"There was blood and body parts everywhere."
On Saturday, Turkey's government said the country would take a more active role in efforts to end the war in Syria.

Deadliest recent attacks on civilians in Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan prays for the airport employees who were killed in an attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 2 JulyImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPresident Erdogan (fifth from left) prays for airport employees killed at Ataturk airport in Istanbul
  • 20 August: Bomb attack on wedding party in Gaziantep kills at least 51 people, IS suspected
  • 29 June: A gun and bomb attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul kills 41 people, in an attack blamed on IS militants
  • 13 March: 37 people are killed by Kurdish militants in a suicide car bombing in Ankara
  • 17 February: 28 people, many of them civilians, are killed in an attack on a military convoy in Ankara
  • 12 January: 10 people, including at least eight German tourists, die in a suicide bombing in Istanbul, thought to have been carried out by IS
  • October 2015: More than 100 people die in a double suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara - the deadliest attack of its kind on Turkish soil

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