Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
30 dead in Turkey town blast
GORY STATE Explosion took place at a cultural centre in Suruc when a political group was holding up a news conference
ISTANBUL: An explosion rocked the Turkish city of Suruc near the Syrian border on Monday, killing 30 people and wounding nearly 100 others in what Turkish authorities said appeared to be an Islamic State-inspired suicide bombing.
The mid-day explosion took place at a cultural centre in Suruc as a political group, the Federation of Socialist Youths, was wrapping up a news conference on plans to rebuild the Syrian city of Kobani, a witness said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but one senior government official said that Turkey suspected the IS group was behind the blast.
Suruc, in southeastern Turkey, is just across the border from Kobani, the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish groups and the Islamic State group. Kobani, populated heavily by Syrian Kurds, was the Islamic State group’s biggest defeat last year since the militants established control over large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Its ruins have become a symbol of Kurdish resistance.
If confirmed that IS was behind the attack, it would represent a major expansion of the group’s campaign into Turkey at a time that the Turkish government appears to have stepped up its efforts against the group. The bombing may not have been the group’s first attack in Turkey, but it was the most serious. In January, a female suicide bomber with suspected IS ties blew herself up in a tourist district of Istanbul, killing a police officer and injuring another.
Fatma Edemen, 22, said the federation of about 200 youths had been pressing for more access to help reconstruction in Kobani before the blast.
“One of my friends protected me. First I thought ‘I am dying’ but I was OK. I started to run after I saw the bodies,” she said over phone as she headed to a hospital to get treatment.
Her voice shaking, she said her group had believed Kobani was relatively safe and ready to rebuild.
“Our friends went there and it didn’t seem dangerous at that time. We couldn’t even think something like that would happen,” she said, adding that they had hoped to build a kindergarten or something else for children in the devastated city.
“I personally and on behalf of my nation condemn and curse those who perpetrated this savagery,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.