Bombing kills 9, injures 68 in Turkey near Syrian border
A car laden with explosives was detonated yesterday in the eastern province of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, killing at least nine people and wounding 68.
Turkish security forces have detained four people who are suspected of involvement in the bombing in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Siverek district today.
Assailants remotely detonated the explosives at 7:38 p.m. after leaving the car at a bus stop 30 meters from the Karşıyaka Police Station in the province's Şehitkamil district.
The explosion ripped through the street, incinerating a city bus and a minibus which were picking up passengers at the bus stop. Numerous vehicles and shops were damaged by the blast.
Eight people, including one woman and three children of ages 18 months, four years and 11 years, were reportedly killed in the blast. Another 12-year-old child died in hospital today.
Out of the initially 69 injured people, 17 remained in hospital, with four in critical condition, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said during a press conference today.
A special investigation team was dispatched from Ankara to look for clues in the attack, which sent parts of the car used in the bombing flying as far as 200 meters away from the blast point.
The Karşıyaka Police Station, which was the apparent target of the blast, served as a police station in the lower floors and as a housing unit for police officers' families in the upper floors.
The car used in the bombing was reported stolen in another province that Atalay refrained from mentioning and was brought into Gaziantep with a tow-truck. Security forces determined that the vehicle arrived in the city yesterday and have also learned the tow-truck driver's identity, Atalay said.
Atalay rejected claims that the security forces had received a tip that a bomb car had infiltrated Gaziantep two weeks ago but failed to locate it. "Credit should not be given to such speculation," Atalay said.
Call for calm
Atalay called on Turkish citizens to remain calm and patient in the wake of the attack. "The aim of terror is to spread fear, sow chaos and spark conflicts," he said.
An angry mob marched to the district and provincial offices of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) after the attack yesterday in Gaziantep, chanting slogans and hurling stones at party offices. Riot police had to disperse the crowds. The BDP issued a statement today condemning the bombing.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would be visiting Gaziantep tomorrow during which he would attend the funerals of the victims. The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said he would be in Gaziantep tomorrow as well.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, announced today that it was nor responsible for the attack, via news channels close to the organization.