At Least 34 Dead, 125 Wounded in Car Bombing in Turkish Capital

Explosion occurs weeks after car bomb attack in Ankara killed 29; Ankara court orders ban on Facebook, Twitter after images from blast were shared; Netanyahu condemns attacks, expresses solidarity with Turkish people.

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At least 34 people were killed and another 125 were wounded in a suicide car bombing in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Sunday evening.

At least one or two of the casualties were the perpetrators of the attack, Turkey's health minister said. He added that 125 people were being treated at hospitals, and that 19 of the wounded were in serious condition.

Attacks like the car bombing in Ankara will only bolster Turkey's resolve in fighting terrorism and it will never give up the right to defend itself, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

In a statement hours after the car bombing, Erdogan said terrorist organizations were targeting civilians because they were losing their struggle against the security forces.

A police officer looks on as a body bag is carried at the scene of a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.Credit: AFP

Turkey had become a target because of regional instability in recent years, he said.

The bomb exploded close to bus stops near a park at Ankara's main square, Kizila, as a car slammed into a bus.

A police source said there appeared to have been two attackers, one a man and the other a woman, whose severed hand was found 300 meters from the blast site.

The explosives were the same kind as those used on Feb. 17 and the bomb had been reinforced with pellets and nails to cause maximum damage, the source told Reuters.

Netanyahu condemns attack

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack, saying in a statement that "Israel expresses its solidarity with the people of Turkey in the war on terror, and calls on the international community to unite in the fight against terror."

No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. A Turkish security official said that initial findings suggest the attack was carried out by the Kurdish PKK militant group or an affiliated group. Turkey's interior minister said that investigation into the attack was due to be finished by Monday.

Members of emergency services work at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 13, 2016. Credit: AP
Members of emergency services work at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, on Sunday, March 13, 2016. Credit: AP

Turkey's pro-Kurdish party issued a statement condemning the attack. The Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP, said it shares "the huge pain felt along with our citizens." The statement was significant because the party is frequently accused of being the political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK – an accusation it denies. It has also been accused of not speaking out against PKK violence.

Turkish broadcasting authority RTÜK issued a ban on networks for coverage of explosion in Ankara. A few hours after the attack, CNN Turk and NTV reported that an Ankara court ordered a ban on access to Facebook and Twitter after images from the blast were shared.

The explosion occurred less than a month after a car bomb attack in central Ankara killed 29 people. Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for that attack. It also occurred two days after the U.S. Embassy issued a security warning about a potential plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing in one Ankara neighborhood and asked its citizens to avoid those areas.

Last October, 95 people were killed when two suspected suicide bombers struck a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists outside Ankara's main train station just weeks before elections, in the worst attack of its kind on Turkish soil.

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