17 killed, dozens hurt, in car bomb blast in Turkey
Published 09/10/2016 | 10:16
Nine soldiers and eight civilians have been killed when Kurdish militants detonated a car bomb outside a military checkpoint in south-east Turkey, the local governor said.
Cuneyit Orhan Toprak, governor of Hakkari province where the attack took place, gave the death toll to news channel NTV and said 27 other people were wounded in the attack and were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment. Eleven of the wounded were soldiers, the Turkish military said.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency, citing a statement by the Turkish Armed Forces, said the attack occurred at 9.45am outside a gendarmerie checkpoint on the Semdinli-Yuksekova road, and was the work of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
The checkpoint is 12 miles from the centre of the town of Semdinli.
Mr Toprak said the attackers first opened fire on the soldiers at the checkpoint to distract them, before driving up a minivan containing about 5 tons of explosives and detonating it.
The explosion produced a crater 50 feet wide and 23 feet deep. An infantry station located behind the checkpoint also suffered heavy damage.
Energy minister Berat Albayrak condemned the attack during a speech in Istanbul, calling on all countries to stand together against terrorism.
Turkey has been rocked by a wave of bomb attacks since last summer that have killed hundreds of people and been blamed on either the PKK or the Islamic State group.
Fighting between the PKK and state security forces resumed last year after the collapse of a fragile ceasefire.
Since then, more than 600 Turkish security personnel and thousands of PKK militants have been killed in clashes, according to the Anadolu Agency. Rights groups say hundreds of civilians have also been killed in the fighting.
On Thursday, 10 people were slightly wounded by a bomb mounted on a motorcycle that exploded near a police station in Istanbul.
On Friday, the militant Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, considered an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility. Six people have been detained in connection with that attack.