At least 34 dead as car bomb explodes in Ankara, capital city of Turkey

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A car bomb explosion ripped through a busy square in the Turkish capital on Sunday evening, killing at least 34 people and wounding 125 others, officials said.

The death toll could include one or two attackers, Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said.

He told a news conference that 30 people were killed at the scene and four died later in hospital, however two of the dead are believed to be the attackers. He said 125 people were being treated at several hospitals in Ankara, of whom 19 are in a critical condition.

“We condemn this terror attack and we say again, people who carried out this attack will never succeed,” Interior Minister Efkan Ala said.

The Hurriyet newspaper said the latest blast happened at about 1840 hours local time (1640 hours GMT) and the area was evacuated in case of a second attack. Many ambulances were at the scene, it added.

Scores of police cars, firefighters and medical personnel rushed to the scene. Security forces evacuated the area, the official Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.

No group has yet taken responsibility of the attack.

However, a security official told Reuters news agency that initial findings suggested it was the work of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or an affiliated group.

Authorities haven’t released details about who was behind the blast.

“It’s too early to talk about who carried out this attack. The investigation is ongoing,” a senior Turkish official said. “Our priority right now is the wounded.”

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The explosion happened in Guven Park in the Kizilay district, a key transport hub and commercial area.

The explosion apparently targeted the location of bus stops and a metro station in the Kizilay neighborhood, Anadolu said.

Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara warned of a possible terrorist plot to strike government buildings in the capital’s Bahcelievler neighborhood, which is just a few minute’s drive from the square where Sunday’s explosion occurred.

A bombing that targeted military vehicles in the capital in February killed at least 28 people.

The bombing attack was claimed by a Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK).
It said on its website that the attack was in retaliation for the policies of President Erdogan.

Turkey, however, blamed a Syrian national who was a member of another Kurdish group.

Last October, more than 100 people were killed in a double-suicide bombing at a Kurdish peace rally in Ankara.

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