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13 soldiers die, more hurt in Turkey blast

13 soldiers die, more hurt in Turkey blast

A vehicle bomb attack on a bus carrying off-duty military personnel has killed 13 soldiers and wounded 55 in the central Turkish city of Kayseri, with President Tayyip Erdogan blaming Kurdish militants. The Turkish military said 48 members of the armed forces were among the wounded.

They include a group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, an offshoot of the PKK that claimed responsibility for the soccer stadium bombing and threatened to carry out more attacks.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the suicide bomber ambushed a commando brigade on weekend leave in the city of Kayseri.

The PKK, which wants autonomy for the Kurdish minority, is considered a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union and Turkey.

The explosion comes a week after 44 people were killed on December 10 in a double bombing in Istanbul after a football match. The bus was carrying off-duty soldiers.




It is also likely to increase tension in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, where militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have waged a three-decade violent insurgency that has seen some of its worst fighting in the past year. Turkish authorities have banned distribution of images relating to the Istanbul explosions within Turkey.

The attacks have come with the civil war still raging in neighbouring Syria, where Turkey is staging its own incursion to expel Islamist and Kurdish militia from the border area.

Turkey faces multiple security threats including spillover from the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, where it is a member of a USA -led coalition against the militant group.

One of the main cities of central Turkey, Kayseri is a key industrial hub with a population of over one million and a stronghold of Turkish nationalists.

Later on Saturday, a mob stormed the Kayseri offices of HDP, a left-leaning pro-Kurdish party the BBC reports.

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