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Turkey: 14 soldiers killed in central Turkey terror attack

18th Dec 2016
Turkey: 14 soldiers killed in central Turkey terror attack

By Ferdi Turkten, Ilhan Toprak, Tuba Karahan and Tevfik Isik

 

KAYSERI, (AA): A suicide car bomb attack on Saturday killed 14 soldiers and wounded 55 others in the central Turkish province of Kayseri, according to local sources.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu earlier confirmed a death toll of thirteen people after the blast targeting a public bus carrying off-duty soldiers early morning. A 14th soldier, Combat Engineer Ugur Korkmaz, passed away at hospital, Anadolu Agency reporter at the scene has learned from local sources.

Eleven of the 55 injured remain in critical condition, said the minister.

According to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kayseri, 15 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack as part of ongoing investigation.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in an interview with NTV, “for now, all signs point to PKK, the arrows are pointing in that direction.”

Referring to the PKK, he added: “It appears that this incident is a revenge attack, which appears to be an effort to rectify their situation in some way.”

In a separate investigation Saturday, 22 members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were detained on charges of taking part in recruitment efforts for the terrorist PKK.

The bus targeted by the bomb was carrying off-duty troops near the Erciyes University campus at 8.45 a.m. local time (0545 GMT) when the blast occurred, according to a statement by the Turkish General Staff.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later told journalists in Kahramanmaras province the Kayseri blast was “a suicide bomb attack”.

“These incidents cannot weaken our struggle rather it increases our determination,” Yildirim said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also condemned the terror attack. In remarks made in Turkish on his official Twitter account, Cavusoglu offered his condolences to the families of the martyrs and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Also, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency: “Turkish army is determined to combat terrorists until the last terrorist is neutralised, ”

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak compared the incident to the Dec.10 twin bombings in Istanbul, which killed 44 people, including several police officers.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, also phoned the prime minister and offered his condolences over the attack.

An investigation into the attack remains underway.

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Radio and Television imposed a temporary ban on media coverage of Kayseri blast, which includes a live broadcast from the scene, footage taken from the time of the blast and afterwards, and images of bodies, the agency said in a statement.

[Photo: Police officers carry the coffins of Turkish soldiers killed during a suicide car bomb attack targeted a public bus in central Kayseri province of Turkey on December 17, 2016. Photographer: Muhabiri Metin Aktas/AA]

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