Turkey has ‘no clue’ on Gaziantep wedding attack perpetrator: PM Yıldırım

Turkey has ‘no clue’ on Gaziantep wedding attack perpetrator: PM Yıldırım

Turkey has ‘no clue’ on Gaziantep wedding attack perpetrator: PM Yıldırım

Women mourn as they wait in front of a hospital morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, after a suspected bomber targeted a wedding celebration in the city, Turkey, August 21, 2016. REUTERS photo

Turkey has “no clue” about who was behind the attack on a wedding in a town close to the Syrian border that left 54 people dead, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said late on Aug. 22. 

“We do not have any clue about who the perpetrators behind the attack were. Early information on who committed the attack, and in the name of what organization, is unfortunately not right,” Yıldırım told reporters in Ankara.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said on Aug. 21 that the bomber was a child aged between 12 and 14, probably acting on orders of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

But Yıldırım dismissed “rumors” about whether the attack was conducted by a child or an adult and insisted that the security agencies were continuing their work to find who was responsible.

“Those who were behind the attack will be revealed, there is no doubt about this,” he vowed. 

Meanwhile, the Gaziantep Governor’s Office issued a statement on Aug. 23 in which it said work to identify eight people out of the 54 killed in the attack was ongoing, and that eight also included the attacker. 

The statement said 94 people were wounded in the attack, in addition to the 54 who were killed. It said work to identify the eight was continuing, although their autopsies at the Gaziantep Public Prosecutor’s Forensics Center have been concluded. 

The statement also gave details about the victims, saying 19 of them were women and 35 were men. Some 31 of the victims were identified as children under the age of 18. 

It added that 39 of those injured in the attack had been released from hospitals and 58 of them, including 13 in a critical condition, were still receiving treatment at multiple hospitals across Gaziantep. 

The July 20 attack at the wedding in Gaziantep marked not only Turkey’s deadliest this year, but also the first time in the country that militants may have deployed a child bomber in a way already used to deadly effect in wars from Africa to Syria. 

“Child recruitment across the region is increasing,” warned Juliette Touma, a UNICEF regional spokesperson. 

“Children are taking a much more active role ... receiving training on the use of heavy weapons, manning checkpoints on the front lines, being used as snipers and in extreme cases being used as suicide bombers,” Touma added.