AMN / ANKARA
A car bomb has hit the heart of Ankara in an area close to parliament and armed forces headquarters, killing at least 28. Leaders from the US, Germany and the UN have expressed their solidarity with Turkey.
At least 28 people were killed with as many as 61 wounded in the deadly explosion in the Turkish capital, according to an official statement.
The majority of casualties were assumed to be military personnel, however, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that the attack did not exclusively target the armed forces but was planned to hit civilians as well.
“This not an attack against our military, but on our dear nation,” Kurtulmus said, calling for national unity.
The blast was caused by a vehicle which reportedly exploded during rush hour traffic near a passing van carrying military personnel. The attack occurred in the vicinity of a military dormitory attached to the headquarters of the Turkish Armed Forces in central Ankara at about 6:30 p.m. local time (1631 UTC).
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has said that there is no information at present about who was responsible for Wednesday’s deadly bomb attack in Ankara.
However, he vowed that the identities of those behind the attack would be revealed at the earliest.
Kurtulmus was speaking after a terrorist attack hit military-owned vehicles in central Ankara on Wednesday evening, killing at least 28 people and wounding 61 more.
“Unfortunately, we have lost 28 citizens in the car bomb attack, including soldiers and civilians,” Kurtulmus told a news briefing.
Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said three of the casualties had died in hospital. He also confirmed that 61 wounded were being treated for “slight or moderate” injuries across 14 hospitals.
He added that a second blast also took place but said this was a controlled explosion carried out on a suspect package by the security forces.
An initial report from Ankara’s governor suggests three military-owned vehicles and a private vehicle were hit during the evening rush hour.
The attack sparked international condemnation and words of support for Turkey. Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said from Washington that “we stand together with Turkey, a NATO ally, a strong partner and a valued member of the counter-ISIL coalition in the face of this attack,” using an alternative acronym for the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) terrorist group. IS has not, however, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Chancellor Angela Merkel added her voice to the chorus of support, stating that Germany is “with Turkey in the fight against those responsible for such inhumane acts.” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also sent his condolences.