Deadly bomb attack in Turkey
An Islamic State group suicide bomber as young as 12 years old attacked an outdoor Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey, killing at least 51 people and wounding dozens of others, the Turkish president said Sunday.
The bombing late Saturday in Gaziantep, near Turkey's border with Syria, was the deadliest attack in Turkey this year. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking live on national television in front of Istanbul's city hall, said the attacker was aged between 12 and 14. He said 69 people were wounded, with 17 of them in critical condition.
"It was clear that Daesh had such an organisation in Gaziantep or was attempting to make room for itself in recent times," Erdogan said, using an alternative acronym for IS. "Many intensive operations were conducted, are being conducted. Of course our security forces will be conducting these operations with even greater intensity."
A bus driver who shuttled some of the guests from Siirt to Gaziantep said that he couldn't believe the party was targeted.
"This was a wedding party. Just a regular wedding party," Hamdullah Ceyhan told the state-run Anadolu Agency. "This attack was deplorable. How did they do such a thing?"
The bride and groom weren't in life-threatening condition and were undergoing treatment, Anadolu reported. The groom's sister and uncle were among the dead, the agency reported.
Turkey has been rocked by a wave of attacks in the past year that have either been claimed by Kurdish militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party - known by its acronym PKK - or were blamed on IS. In June, suspected IS militants attacked Istanbul's main airport with guns and bombs, killing 44 people. A dual suicide bombing blamed on IS at a peace rally in Turkey's capital, Ankara, in October 2015, killed 103 victims.
The attack comes as the country is still reeling from last month's failed coup attempt, which the government has blamed on US - based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers. Gulen denies any involvement.
Earlier this week, a string of bombings blamed on the PKK that targeted police and soldiers killed at least a dozen people. A fragile, two and a half year-long peace process between the PKK and the government collapsed last year, leading to a resumption of the three-decade-long conflict.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and opposition parties have denounced the attack as well as foreign governments, including the US, Sweden, Greece, France, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan.