Two car bomb attack planners detonate selves in Turkey’s capital
ANKARATwo suspects blew themselves up in a car early on Oct. 8 after the police called on them to surrender on the outskirts of Ankara, Ankara Gov. Ercan Topaca has said.
Both suspects died in the incident, the governor said. No one else was killed or hurt.
“Police called on them to surrender. They did not respond in a positive way. They blew themselves up before we could intervene,” Topaca told reporters at the scene.
Harun Arslan, one of the suspects, had bought a car a few days ago to use in a bomb attack, he said, adding that police had been tracking the two suspects.
Police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır had provided a notice that the pair, Arslan and a woman identified as Mahide Ataş, would soon be arriving in Ankara.
“What is interesting is that they had a Turkish flag on their car,” Topaca said, adding that “a third person is being sought.”
“We think that they did so to hide themselves,” the governor said, adding that the attackers might be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“The organization they are connected to is not clear yet but according to information we have received, it is highly likely that [Arslan] is linked to the PKK. The way the incident was carried out and planned points at the PKK,” he said.
The governor’s office said security forces launched an operation against the militants at around 6 a.m. at a stud farm 30 kilometers from the capital after the tip-off from Diyarbakır.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ also commented on the incident, saying that a “disaster” was prevented from happening. Bozdağ added that all signs “pointed to the PKK.”
“They probably planned to attack in Ankara,” Bozdağ told Turkish broadcaster CNN Türk on Oct. 8.
“Turkey is in a critical position. There are clashes in Syria and Iraq and sources of terror there,” he also said.
Video footage showed forensic teams in white overalls inspecting the site as police secured the area around a hut in the flat countryside on the road to the town of Haymana.
Police seized two pieces of plastic explosives and 200 kg of ammonium nitrate, the governor’s office said in a statement.
Ammonium nitrate is an ingredient in bomb-making.
An identity card found at the scene, believed to belong to one of the would-be bombers, was of a man from the eastern province of Bingöl.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was scheduled to convene a meeting with security officials in Istanbul at 3:30 p.m. without specifying a reason.
On Oct. 6 a bomb attack near a police station in Istanbul wounded 10 people. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility for that blast on Oct. 7. Six people have been detained in connection with the attack.
Turkey has been rocked by a wave of bomb attacks since last summer that have killed hundreds of people and been blamed on either the PKK or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
The deadliest attack took place in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, with two ISIL bombers killing 101 people attending a peace rally.