03/13/2016, 22.34
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Ankara hit by explosion: at least 34 dead and 125 wounded

by Ömer Önder

Ankara (AsiaNews) – The Turkish capital was rocked to its core on Sunday as a car bomb exploded in Ankara’s commercial heart, Kızılay, near central park Güvenpark, at approximately 6.35 pm, (1645 GMT) Sunday evening killing at least 34 and injuring 125.

According to the statement, 30 people died on the spot, while four others died on way to the hospital. A total of 125 wounded persons were transferred to hospitals across the city, the statement added. At least 19 wounded are very serious.

Eyewitnesses claim on social media that the explosion took place as an explosive-laden vehicle crashed into a bus from behind near Güvenpark, in the center of Kızılay. Explosion voice heard from all around the city. The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed a media ban on the explosion in Ankara minutes after explosion took place.

The blast apparently targeted the area's transportation hub of bus and minibus stops, and the central metro station. A reporter from private broadcaster Habertürk said the blast took place where around 10 bus stops are located. Also after the blast, security forces evacuated the area in case there is a second blast.

Ankara Governor Mehmet Kiliclar also arrived at the scene to survey the area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Interior Minister Efkan Ala over the phone, who briefed him on the incident.

According to Prime Ministry sources, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will chair a security meeting later in the evening to discuss and assess the situation after the blast.

The explosion comes days after the US embassy in Ankara published a statement on their website warning of a “possible threat” in Ankara.

The warning which was posted on Friday states, “The US Embassy informs US citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievler area of Ankara.  US citizens should avoid this area.”

This is the third major blast to hit the Turkish capital since October 2015.

Alleged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants bombed a peace rally near the Ankara Railway Station in a major city thoroughfare and left at least 103 dead on Oct. 10, 2015.

Four months later, a suicide car bomb attack targeted military shuttles in the capital city on Feb. 17, killing at least 29 people and injuring 81 others when a car bomb targeted a convoy of coaches carrying both civilian and military personnel working at the military headquarters during the evening rush hour.


Twitter: @OmerOnderEng


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