‘Terror attack’ at wedding in south east Turkey leaves at least 22 dead and dozens injured

Local officials in Gaziantep believe it was most probably a suicide bombing

Will Worley
Sunday 21 August 2016 00:11
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People react after an explosion at a wedding in Gaziantep, southeastern Turke
People react after an explosion at a wedding in Gaziantep, southeastern Turke

A suspected suicide attack has killed and injured scores of people at an outdoor wedding party in Turkey’s volatile south east.

The explosion, which took place in the town of Gaziantep, near the border with Syria, is being blamed on either Isis or Kurdish militants. However, on Saturday night, there were unconfirmed reports the wedding was between Kurdish and Alevi families.

Officials told Associated Press at least 22 people died and 94 were injured.

Photos taken after the explosion showed several bodies covered with white sheets. Police sealed off the area and forensic teams moved into the site.

Hundreds of residents gathered near the scene of the explosion chanting "Allah is great" as well as slogans denouncing terrorist attacks.

Gaziantep Governor Ali Yerlikaya told state-run Anadolu news agency the explosion was caused by a “terror attack”. Mehmet Erdogan, a ruling party legislator from Gaziantep, said authorities believe it was most probably a suicide bombing.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, interviewed on NTV television, said: "This was a barbaric attack. It appears to be a suicide attack. All terror groups, the PKK, Daesh [Isis], the (Gulen movement) are targeting Turkey. But God willing, we will overcome."

A man cries over a covered body after the explosion in Gaziantep

On Twitter, an MP for the ruling AK Party, Şamil Tayyar, appeared to blame Isis for the bombing. He added: “Do not succumb to terrorism. God bless our country.”

Mehmet Tascioglu, a local journalist, told NTV television the huge explosion could be heard from many parts of the city.

Online, observers reported social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were blocked, as is common after suspected attacks in Turkey. A gag also was also imposed on Turkish media, according to reports.

The country has suffered numerous terrorist attacks in recent months. In June, suspected IS militants attacked Istanbul's main airport with guns and bombs, killing 44 people.

Stability in the country was damaged even further after an attempted coup in July.

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