Thursday 27 July 2017

Turkish investigators are close to identifying one of the suicide bombers in attack that claimed 97 lives

A man comforts a victim after the blast
A man comforts a victim after the blast
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Turkish investigators are close to identifying one of the suicide bombers in Turkey's deadliest attacks in years, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, adding that Islamic State is the "number one priority" of the investigation.

However, in an interview with private NTV television, Mr Davutoglu also said the evidence pointed to a "certain group" which he refused to identify.

Relatives cry during the funeral of Korkmaz Tedik, 25, killed in Saturday's bombing attacks (AP)
Relatives cry during the funeral of Korkmaz Tedik, 25, killed in Saturday's bombing attacks (AP)
Family members of Korkmaz Tedik, a victim of Saturday’s bomb blasts, mourn over his coffin during a funeral ceremony in Ankara

The rally on Saturday was organised by Turkish and Kurdish activists to call for increased democracy and an end to the renewed fighting between Turkey's security forces and the Kurdish rebels that has killed hundreds since July.

On Monday, Yeni Safak, a newspaper close to the government, said authorities investigating the bombings were focusing on IS, comparing DNA samples of the suspected bombers with those obtained from families of some 20 extremists they suspect could have carried out the attacks.

No one has claimed responsibility but the attack bears similarities to a suicide bombing that killed 33 Turkish and Kurdish peace activists near the town of Suruc, bordering Syria, in July. The government blamed that attack on IS.

The Hurriyet newspaper said the type of device and explosives used in Ankara were the same as those used in Suruc.

Mourners in Ankara are held back by police to approach the site of the explosions (AP)
Mourners in Ankara are held back by police to approach the site of the explosions (AP)
After the explosion, demonstrators attacked police
An injured man hugs an injured woman after the explosion at a peace march in Ankara yesterday

The government raised the death toll in the weekend attack to 97, including one Palestinian. A pro-Kurdish party has said that up to 128 people died.

Mr Davutoglu said Turkey had received intelligence that Kurdish rebels or IS militants were planning suicide bombings and said two would-be bombers were detained before Saturday's attack.

"There was general intelligence concerning a team called the 'immortals' within Daesh (IS) making preparations, concerning preparations by the PKK," Mr Davutoglu said.

He said the attack aimed to influence the result of Turkey's November 1 election and cast a shadow over the polls.

The moment of the explosion
The moment of the explosion
A man pleads for help in the aftermath of the deadly blast

Mr Davutoglu rejected opposition accusations that the attacks were a result of Turkey's involvement in the conflict in Syria and that the government was dragging the country into the Middle Eastern quagmire.

"These attacks won't turn Turkey into a Syria," Mr Davutoglu said.

Government opponents have also accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of fomenting violence to gain votes for the ruling party - an accusation the Turkish leader rejects.

On Sunday, police detained four more suspected IS militants in a raid in the southern city of Adana, the regional governor's office said. The detentions raised the number of suspected IS militants taken into custody in four cities since Saturday to around 40.

A bomb disposal officer inspects a suspected suitcase that proved to be empty at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. Turkey's health minister says two bomb explosions in the Turkish capital have killed scores of people. The explosions occurred minutes apart near Ankara's main train station as people were gathering for the rally, organized by the country's public sector workers' trade union and other civic society groups. The rally aimed to call for an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
A bomb disposal officer inspects a suspected suitcase that proved to be empty at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. Turkey's health minister says two bomb explosions in the Turkish capital have killed scores of people. The explosions occurred minutes apart near Ankara's main train station as people were gathering for the rally, organized by the country's public sector workers' trade union and other civic society groups. The rally aimed to call for an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
A man cries over the body of a victim, at the site of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. The two bomb explosions targeting a peace rally in the capital Ankara has killed dozens of people and injured scores of others. The explosions occurred minutes apart near Ankara's main train station as people were gathering for the rally, organized by the country's public sector workers' trade union and other civic society groups. The rally aimed to call for an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

It was not clear if any of the arrests were linked to the peace rally bombings.

Turkey agreed recently to more actively support the US-led battle against IS, opening its bases to US aircraft launching air strikes on the extremist group in Syria and carrying out a limited number of strikes on the group itself.

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News