A massive car bomb blast targeting a military convoy has left 28 dead and 61 injured in Ankara, Turkey
A vehicle full of explosives was detonated as military buses were passing by, according to the Ankara governor’s office.
The blast happened in an area close to parliament and Turkey’s military headquarters.
The Deputy Prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, confirmed that the attack was carried out with a car bomb, but added that the perpetrators had not yet been identified. “We do not yet know the perpetrators,” he told reporters. “This attack did not only target our military personnel in those shuttles. This attack openly targets our entire nation.
We condemn those who carried it out, those who instrumentalised the perpetrators, and those who gave logistical, intelligence and even political support to such attacks.”
An official at the armed forces’ general staff confirmed military buses had been the target, hit by an explosive-laden car as they waited at traffic lights. The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that the attack would only strengthen Turkey’s resolve against insurgents.
Plumes of smoke were seen rising over the area and the powerful blast was heard all over the city, sending residents to their balconies in panic. Television footage showed an intense fire around a burned-out bus and emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. A spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), Ömer Çelik, said he strongly condemned the attack as a “heinous act of terrorism”.
The Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, cancelled a trip to Brussels to attend a security briefing. He said the authorities were looking into information they had received about the explosion on Wednesday night.
President Erdogan issued a statement saying: “We will continue our fight against the pawns that carry out such attacks, which know no moral or humanitarian bounds, and the forces behind them with more determination every day.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Security sources told Reuters that “initial signs [indicated] that militants from Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were behind the Ankara bombing on Wednesday”. This has not been confirmed.
Turkey has suffered a string of bloody terrorist attacks on its soil in the past 18 months, most of which were blamed on Islamic State militants. Other security sources told the news agency that Isis was behind the attack on the military convoy in Ankara.