Wednesday 17 January 2018

28 killed in Ankara car bomb blast

At least 28 people have been killed in an explosion in Ankara, Turkey
At least 28 people have been killed in an explosion in Ankara, Turkey

Turkey's president has condemned a car bomb attack in the capital which killed at least 28 people, saying it exceeds all "moral and humane boundaries".

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is determined to fight those who carried out the attack in Ankara as well as the "forces" behind the assailants.

The attack during rush hour on Wednesday targeted vehicles carrying military personnel that had stopped at traffic lights. At least 28 people were killed and another 61 wounded.

Deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus confirmed the explosion was caused by a car bomb. He said seven prosecutors have been assigned to investigate the attack, which he described as "well-planned".

Mr Erdogan has cancelled a planned visit on Thursday to Azerbaijan following the blast. Instead he convened a security meeting with prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, but Mr Kurtulmus pledged authorities would find those behind the attack.

Kurdish rebels, the Islamic State (IS) group and a leftist extremist group have carried out attacks in the country recently.

The attack comes at a tense time when the Turkish government is facing an array of challenges.

A fragile peace process with the Kurdish rebels collapsed in the summer.

Security forces have been engaged in large-scale operations against Kurdish militants in the south-east since December, imposing controversial curfews in flashpoint areas, and the fighting has displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

Turkey has also been helping efforts led by the US to combat IS in neighbouring Syria and has faced several deadly bombings in the last year that were blamed on IS.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply condemned the attack, saying she was horrified by it and that her thoughts were with the families of the victims and the injured.

In a statement, she said: "I'm telling the Turkish people: we as Germans are sharing your pain."

She added: "In the battle against those responsible for these inhuman acts we are on the side of Turkey."

Press Association

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