18 killed in bomb attack in Turkey’s capital

Ankara, Feb 18 (IANS) At least 18 people were killed and 45 wounded in a car bomb attack targeting the Turkish military here on Wednesday, authorities said.

The bomb targeted the housings in Ankara where shuttles for military personnel were awaiting, according to the Turkish military, triggering two explosions near a military compound of the headquarters of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, local NTV news broadcaster reported, according to Xinhua.

News footage showed a large plume of smoke rising into the sky from a fire at the explosion site. The area is also near the Turkish parliament in central Ankara.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said they are looking into details of the explosion, while the parliament spokesperson Omer Celik referred to the blast as a “terror attack”.

The government has banned domestic reporting of the incident.

The attack happened at a time when a high-level security meeting, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was being held at the presidential palace.

The Turkish General Staff has strongly condemned the attack in a statement, saying there were military personnel among the casualties.

Turkey has suffered from a series of deadly attacks. In July 2015, a bomb attack in the border town of Suruc in southeastern Turkey left 34 pro-Kurdish and left-wing activists killed. In October, twin suicide bombings in Ankara claimed a total of 103 lives. Both were blamed on the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

On January 16, 11 people, all German tourists, were killed when a suicide bomber affiliated with the IS attacked the tourist heart of Istanbul.

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