Saturday, October 10, 2015

Suicide bombers kill more than 100 at peaceful Kurdish, leftist rally in Ankara

(Photo AFP)

Updated. Twin explosions caused by two suicide bombers killed more than 100 people at a rally of pro-Kurdish and leftist activists outside Ankara's main train station on Saturday. Witnesses said the two explosions happened seconds apart shortly after 10.00 a.m. as hundreds gathered for a planned march to protest over a conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants in the southeast. There were no claims of responsibility for the attack.
Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu told a news conference that 86 people had been killed and 186 wounded, 28 of whom were in intensive care. The death toll could rise further. 
Turkey has been in a heightened state of alert since starting a "synchronized war on terror" in July, including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected Kurdish and Islamist militants at home.

Saturday's attacks came as expectation mounted that PKK militants would announce a unilateral ceasefire, effectively restoring a truce that collapsed in July. The government had already dismissed the anticipated move as an election gambit to bolster the HDP, whose success at June elections had helped erode the ruling AK party's majority.
Hours after the bombing, the PKK announced it was ordering fighters to halt operations in Turkey unless they faced attack. It said, through the Firat news website, that its fighters would avoid acts which could prevent a "fair and just election" being held on Nov.

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