22 Aug 2016

Child carried out Turkey suicide attack - Erdogan

8:53 pm on 22 August 2016

The suicide bomber who killed 51 people in the Turkish city of Gaziantep was 12 to 14 years old, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

People carry a coffin during a funeral for victims of the attack.

People carry a coffin at a funeral for victims of the attack. Photo: AFP

Mr Erdogan said Islamic State (IS) was behind the attack, which targeted a Kurdish wedding party. The bomb wounded 69 people, 17 of them seriously.

The bomber targeted the wedding guests as they danced in the street.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to people demonstrating against the failed military coup attempt.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said IS was behind the attack. Photo: AFP

A Turkish government officials said nearly half the victims were under the age of 14.

Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several Islamic State cells.

The city of 1.5 million was said to already be on edge because of events in Syria, where IS has been battling Syrian Kurdish forces.

A suicide bomber believed to have links to IS killed two policemen in Gaziantep in May.

In a written statement published by local media Mr Erdogan argued there was "no difference" between IS, the Kurdish militants of the PKK and followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom he blames for the coup attempt last month.

"Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us - you will not succeed!" he said.

People gather near the explosion site in Gaziantep in the wake of the attack on a wedding party in southeastern Turkey.

Relatives grieve at a hospital after the attack on the Kurdish wedding. Photo: AFP

'Blood everywhere'

The bomb went off in a part of town popular with students and which has a large Kurdish community.

Local MP Mahmut Togrul told Reuters news agency it had been a Kurdish wedding.

Mr Togrul's party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said the wedding had been for one of its members.

According to a report by Turkey's Dogan news agency, the couple had moved to Gaziantep from the Kurdish town of Siirt further east to escape fighting between Kurdish rebels and security forces.

On Sunday morning, smashed garage doors and windows could be seen at the site of the blast, Reuters reports.

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

On Saturday, Turkey's government said the country would take a more active role in efforts to end the war in Syria.

- BBC

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