Suicide bomber kills three in southeastern Turkey

Suicide bomber kills three in southeastern Turkey

BİNGÖL - Reuters
Suicide bomber kills three in southeastern Turkey

The blast happened in front of a café and a toy store. Hürriyet photo

A female suicide bomber in southeast Turkey killed three people and wounded 21 in Bingöl, a town in the mainly Kurdish region today.

The blast occurred at a tea house close to the office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the town's main street at around 1:20 p.m. (1020 GMT), Interior Minister Idris Naim Şahin said.

Police said the woman had detonated explosives strapped to her body. They also said they were hunting for another suspected bomber, and a cordon had been thrown round the town, 110 km north of Diyarbakır, the region's main city.

"It was very quiet. There was nothing extraordinary. There were no policeman, no gendarmerie in the street," one bystander told Reuters.

"Suddenly we heard an explosion and screaming. People ran towards there to help people injured. Then we saw paramedics coming."

Şahin was addressing a news conference in Van, where he is part of the team overseeing relief work.

In Diyarbakır, police used water cannons to disperse stone-throwing youths in a protest as the bodies of 24 militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) killed in a military operation more than a week ago were held in a morgue in nearby Malatya town.

The military killed 49 in total after mounting a hunt for PKK militants on the border with northern Iraq, after 24 Turkish soldiers were killed in simultaneous attacks on their posts in Hakkari last month, the most southeasterly province.

In Hakkari today, soldiers shot a mule they suspected militants had packed with explosives and sent towards them. They later detonated the explosives on the dead animal.

The PKK has carried out suicide attacks like the one in Bingöl during its armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule but splinter groups have often claimed responsibility for such attacks in recent years.

Turkey, the European Union and the United States list the PKK as a terrorist organization. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, since the PKK launched its bloody campaign in 1984.