No Irish casualties involved in Turkish suicide blast
Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed there were no Irish harmed in explosion which killed 30 and injured 100 others
Published 20/07/2015 | 18:35
The Department of Foreign Affairs have said that they are unaware of any Irish casualties involved in the explosion that rocked the Turkish city of Suruc earlier today.
The tragic incident, which occurred near the Syrian border, killed 30 people and injured nearly 100 others in what authorities said appeared to be an Islamic State-inspired suicide bombing.
The midday explosion took place at a cultural centre in Suruc as a political group, the Federation of Socialist Youths, was wrapping up a news conference on plans to rebuild the Syrian city of Kobani, a witness said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but one senior Turkish government official said Turkey suspects IS was behind the blast.
Suruc is just across the border from Kobani, the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish groups and Islamic State. The city, populated heavily by Syrian Kurds, was IS's biggest defeat last year since the militants established control over large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Its ruins have become a symbol of Kurdish resistance.
Fatma Edemen, 22, said the federation of about 200 youths had been pressing for more access to help reconstruction in Kobani before the blast that police told her came from a suicide bomber.
"One of my friends protected me. First I thought 'I am dying' but I was okay. I started to run after I saw the bodies," she said as she travelled to hospital to be treated for leg injuries.
Her voice shaking, she said her group had believed Kobani was relatively safe and ready to rebuild.
"Our friends went there and it didn't seem dangerous at that time. We couldn't even think something like that would happen," she said, adding that they had hoped to build a children's nursery in the devastated city.
"We wanted to do something, but they would not let us," she added.
Kobani was also the scene of surprise IS attacks last month that killed more than 200 people.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Cyprus on an official visit, was briefed on the investigation, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
"I personally and on behalf of my nation condemn and curse those who perpetrated this savagery," Mr Erdogan said in a news conference broadcast on Turkish television.
In a statement on Twitter, Turkish deputy prime minister Yalcin Akdogan called the bombing a terrorist act. "Such despicable terrorist attacks on Turkey's integrity and peace will never reach their goal," he said.
Another explosion later went off south of Kobani. One Kurdish official initially described it as a bomb, but it was later claimed that it happened as Kurdish militiamen were removing mortar shells from a dump. He said the blast killed three Kurdish fighters.