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At least 22 killed, 94 injured in explosion at a wedding ceremony in Turkey

It was not clear who was responsible for the explosion. Erdogan said there was a high possibility it was a suicide attack.


At least 22 killed, 94 injured in explosion at a wedding ceremony in Turkey

Ankara: Several people were feared to have been killed on Saturday in a late night militant attack on wedding party in the city of Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey, officials and reports said.

Gaziantep governor Ali Yerlikaya said the explosion in the city centre was due to a "terror attack", state-run news agency Anadolu reported.

Turkish MP Mehmet Erdogan told CNN-Turk broadcaster that people had lost their lives in the blast.

"There are people who lost their lives and we have initial information suggesting it was a bomb attack. We don`t know numbers of injured," said Erdogan, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker for Gaziantep.

It was not clear who was responsible for the explosion. Erdogan said there was a high possibility it was a suicide attack.

The lawmaker added that it was the type of attack that could have been launched by the Islamic State (IS) group or the Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK).

The Dogan news agency said the explosion, which went off at 1940 GMT, had caused injuries and fatalities. 

A Turkish official confirmed an explosion in Gaziantep but would not say how many casualties there were.

"The explosion took place during a wedding. According to initially available information, the ceremony was being held outdoors," the official said."The aim of terror is to scare the people but we will not allow this," said Deputy Prime Mehmet Simsek, who also represents Gaziantep in the Turkish parliament.

"It is barbaric to attack a wedding," he told Turkish television.

Just north of the Syrian border, Gaziantep has become a major hub for Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country`s civil war.

But as well as refugees and opposition activists, there have long been fears it was home to a significant jihadist presence.

Turkey has already been hit by a bloody year of militant attacks in its two biggest cities that have left dozens dead.

Kurdish militants have twice struck in Ankara in deadly attacks, while IS suicide bombers have twice killed tourists in the centre of Istanbul.

Meanwhile the country is still reeling from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his supporters from all state institutions.

Twelve people were killed on Thursday in a spate of bombings against Turkish security forces blamed on the PKK who appear to have ramped up their campaign of attacks in the aftermath of the failed coup.

The blast in Gaziantep came on the day Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim vowed Ankara would play a "more active" role in the next six months in efforts to solve the five-year Syrian civil war.

In a sign that Turkey`s position was becoming gradually more aligned with Russia and Iran, he added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could remain temporarily during a transition period.
"He is one of the actors today no matter whether we like it or not," said Yildirim.

Iran and Russia are the main allies of Assad whereas Turkey has always insisted his exit was a precondition for the end of the conflict. 

 

From Zee News

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