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Turkish Wedding Explosion Kills At Least 30

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ISTANBUL – An explosion at a wedding in southeastern Turkey killed 30 people and injured 94 others Saturday night, the state-run news agency Anadolu reported.

The blast occurred in the city of Gaziantep, located about 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.

Regional Governor Ali Yerlikaya called the incident a “terror attack” and said it took place in Akdere neighborhood of the Sahinbey district, Anadolu reported.

The agency added that the wedding celebration took place on a street, which is common in southern Turkey.

Video of the aftermath shows hundreds of people in the darkened street as rescue workers lift victims into ambulances. Orhan Akin, Gaziantep bureau chief for the Ihlas News Agency, told CNN Turk that he saw “at least 20 ambulances carrying injured people.”

No group has claimed responsibility for an attack, and no details on what caused the explosion were immediately available.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan characterized the incident as an attack and condemned its perpetrators: “Those, who cannot overcome Turkey and try to provoke people by abusing ethnic and sectarian sensitiveness, will not prevail,” Anadolu quoted him as saying.

Without stating who he believes is responsible, Erdogan declared there is “no difference” between three opponents of his government: terror group ISIS, which is based in neighboring Syria; the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK); and FETO, the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan accuses of being behind a recent coup attempt.
Gulen has denied the charge.

Turkey has experienced significant turmoil in recent months, with the attempted military coup in July and a series of deadly explosions.

Past attacks have been carried out by ISIS, which controls northern Syria across the border, and the PKK.

In the most brazen attack, 44 people were killed in July by suspected ISIS suicide bombers at Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

Last March, two suicide bombers killed at least 40 people in Ankara, the capital. A Kurdish rebel group claimed responsibility for that attack.

On August 10, two explosions killed at least eight people in the southeastern towns of Kizitepe and Diyarbakir. Initial assessments indicated Kurdish militants were behind both attacks, a government official said. – CNN

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