Ankara terror plot: Suicide bombers blow themselves up after refusing to give themselves up to police

Authorities say pair were preparing for PKK attack on Turkish capital

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A man and a woman have blown themselves up after refusing to surrender to police in Turkey.

Police said the suicide bombers were preparing for a terror attack in the capital, possibly linked to a Kurdish separatist group.

Erkan Topaca, the governor of Ankara, said investigators acting on a tip-off traced the suspects to a horse farm outside the capital in rural Haymana on Saturday.

Police at a farm after a blast detonated by two militants, in Haymana near Ankara, Turkey, on 8 October (Reuters)

“Police called on them to surrender,” he added. 

“They did not respond in a positive way. They blew themselves up before we could intervene.” 

Mr Topaca said it was “highly likely” that the male bomber was linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has carried out a series of terror attacks across Turkey while fighting a separatist insurgency in the south-east.

Officials said the pair were planning a suicide car bomb attack against an unknown target, adding that a Turkish flag hung on their car was an attempt to disguise their intentions.

“The way the incident was carried out and planned points at the PKK," Mr Topaca said.

Car bomb hits Turkey's Ankara for second time in weeks

No one was injured in the explosion shortly after 6am local time (4am BST), with footage showing forensic teams inspecting the site, where a car was left dented and with its windows shattered from the force of the blast.

Police seized two pieces of plastic explosives and 200kg of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient in bomb-making, the governor's office said in a statement.

The male bomber has been identified as Harun Arslan, and Turkish media named the woman as Mahide Ataş, while their target is still under investigation.

The operation came two days after 10 people were wounded by a bomb mounted on a motorcycle that exploded near a police station in Istanbul. 

Six people have been detained in connection with the attack, which has been claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).

The PKK frequently targets security forces and politicians, while TAK has claimed responsibility for several attacks including a car bombing that killed 37 people in Ankara in March.

Thousands of PKK militants and more than 600 members of the Turkish security forces have been killed since a two-year ceasefire broke down last year. 

Hundreds of civilians have also died in clashes, amid concerns raised by human rights groups over abuses by security forces, ill-treatment of prisoners and the arrest of non-violent protesters and activists on terrorism charges. 

Isis has also launched a wave of recent attacks in Turkey, claiming the assault that killed 45 victims at Atatürk Airport, and the jihadist group is suspect of being behind several other blasts in Istanbul, Ankara and near the Syrian border.

Additional reporting by agencies