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Suicide car bombing in central Turkey kills 13 soldiers


ISTANBUL - Thirteen Turkish soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded Saturday in a suicide car bombing targeting off-duty conscripts, the latest in a string of attacks to rock Turkey in recent months.

Forty-eight soldiers were wounded in the attack in the central city of Kayseri, where they were being taken by bus on a weekend shopping trip, the army said in a statement. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said a total of 55 people were wounded, six seriously.

Television pictures showed the bus reduced to a smouldering wreck by the impact of the blast, while wounded were taken to waiting ambulances.

The explosion comes a week after 44 people were killed on December 10 in a double bombing in Istanbul after a football match. The attack was claimed by Kurdish militants.

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said in televised comments that Kayseri attack was "unfortunately similar" to last weekend's strikes in Istanbul.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the attack was carried out by a "suicide bomber", without giving further details.

- 'National mobilisation' -

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The army said that the bus -- carrying low-ranking privates and non-commissioned officers -- was attacked after leaving the commando headquarters in the city.

Suicide car bombing in central Turkey kills 13 soldiers

The bus was owned by the municipal transport authorities in Kayseri but was transporting the soldiers who had taken permission to go to a local market for the day, the Dogan news agency said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement that the "acts of terror" in Turkey were "aiming at all 79 million of our citizens together with our soldiers and police."

Without referring specifically to the Kayseri attack, he said that Turkey was targeted by all terror groups but especially the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

"We will fight decisively against these terror organisations in the spirit of a national mobilisation," he said.

Turkey has seen a spate of deadly bombings in a bloody 2016 blamed both on jihadists and Kurdish militants that have left dozens dead and put the country on daily alert.

In June, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, with authorities blaming the Islamic State group.

 

Published : December 17, 2016

By : Agence France-Presse