Turkey wedding bomb: Death toll rises to 50 after 'Isis' terror attack as suicide vest found at blast scene

Explosion is the deadliest to hit the country this year

Kate Nelson
Sunday 21 August 2016 11:34 BST
The late-night attack happened in Gaziantep in the south east
The late-night attack happened in Gaziantep in the south east (Getty)

At least 50 people have been killed in an explosion at a wedding in Turkey, following what is thought to have been a suicide attack carried out by Isis.

People were dancing when an explosion ripped through the celebrations on Saturday in the city of Gaziantep, in the volatile south east near the border with Syria.

President Tayyip Erdogan said it was likely Isis were behind the late-night attack.

The prosecutor's office said a destroyed suicide vest had been discovered at the scene.

And the local governor's office said at least 50 people had been killed and more wounded were still being treated in hospitals around the province.

"The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing," said 25-year-old witness Veli Can. "There was blood and body parts everywhere."

Blood stains and burns marked the walls of the narrow lane where the wedding party was attacked while women in white and checkered scarves cried while waiting outside the morgue for word on missing relatives.

At least 12 people were buried on Sunday, but other funerals would have to wait because many of the victims were unidentifiable.

Ambulances arrive at the site of the explosion
Ambulances arrive at the site of the explosion (Getty)

DNA forensics tests would be needed to identify them, security sources said.

Mahmut Togrul, a lawmaker for HDP (The pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Union) from Gaziantep, around 40 km north of the border with Syria, told Reuters it was a Kurdish wedding.

Isis has been blamed for suicide bombings on Kurdish gatherings in the past, as militants attempt to stir ethnic tensions.

People were dancing when the bomb exploded
People were dancing when the bomb exploded (Getty)

"It was carried out like an atrocity," witness Ibrahim Ozdemir said. "We want to end these massacres. We are in pain, especially the women and children."

Turkey is still tense after an attempted coup on July 15 which Ankara blames on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen. He has denied the charge.

Three suspected Isis suicide bombers killed 44 people at Istanbul's main airport in June, then the deadliest in a string of attacks in Turkey this year.

In October last year, suicide bombers killed at least 95 people when they attacked a rally of pro-Kurdish and labour activists outside Ankara's main train station.

Violence flared up again this week in the largely Kurdish southeast, with bomb attacks leaving 10 people dead in separate attacks, mostly police and soldiers, in an escalation that officials blamed on the PKK, Kurdish separatists militants.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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