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Suicide bombing rocks heart of Turkish capital Ankara

Two terrorists have carried out a bomb attack in front of ministry buildings in Ankara, Turkey’s interior minister says, adding one of them died in the explosion and the other was “neutralised” by authorities.

An explosion was heard near the parliament and ministerial buildings on Sunday, Turkish media had earlier reported, and broadcasters showed footage of debris scattered on a street nearby.

The blast was the first in Ankara since 2016 and came the day parliament was set to open a new session.

Reuters footage showed soldiers, ambulances, fire trucks and armoured vehicles gathered at the ministry near the centre of Turkey’s capital.

Ali Yerlikaya, the interior minister, said on social media platform X that two police officers were slightly injured in the incident at 9.30am (0630 GMT).

“Two terrorists came with a light commercial vehicle in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of our Ministry of Internal Affairs and carried out a bomb attack,” he said.

He said one had blown himself up and the other was “neutralised”, which usually means was killed.

“Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralised,” Yerlikaya said.

Police also announced they would carry out controlled explosions for “suspicious package incidents” in other parts of Ankara.

Authorities did not identify any specific militant group.

The blast comes almost a year after six people were killed and 81 wounded in an explosion in a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul.

Turkey blamed Kurdish militants for that.

During a spate of violence in 2015 and 2016, Kurdish militants, Islamic State and other groups either claimed or were blamed for several attacks in major Turkish cities.

In March 2016, 37 people were killed in Ankara when a bomb-laden car exploded at a crowded central transport hub.

The officer of Ankara’s chief prosecutor launched an investigation on Sunday into what it also called a terrorist attack.

President Tayyip Erdogan was set to attend the 7.30pm opening of parliament, which in the coming weeks is expected to consider ratifying Sweden’s bid to join NATO after Turkey had raised initial objections.

Turkish media reported authorities were carrying out checks of the parliament after the blast at the ministry.

A source told Reuters the entrance was open but no cars were allowed through as part of the precautions.

The office of Ankara’s chief prosecutor launched an investigation into what it also called a terrorist attack.

-Reuters

Topics: Turkey
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