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Turkey Carries Out Air Strikes In Northern Iraq After Deadly Ankara Bombing

Deadly Blast Rocks Turkish Capitali
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March 13, 2016
Dozens of people were killed when a car bomb exploded in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on March 13. More than 70 were reported injured. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The government blamed a similar attack in February, which killed 29 people, on Kurdish militants. (Reuters)
WATCH: Dozens of people were killed when a car bomb exploded in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on March 13. More than 70 were reported injured. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The government blamed a similar attack in February, which killed 29 people, on Kurdish militants. (Reuters)
By RFE/RL

Turkey has carried out air strikes against Kurdish rebel targets in north Iraq following a deadly bombing in Ankara.

The Turkish military, in a statement on March 14, said warplanes hit arms depots and shelters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the mountainous Kandil and Gara regions in northern Iraq.

The air strikes came just hours after at least 37 people were killed and 120 injured by a powerful explosion on the evening of March 13 in Ankara.

Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu updated the death tolll in televised comments on March 14, saying that three more people died due to their injuries.

He added that at least one of the attackers was counted in the overall toll.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had become a target of terrorist attacks because of regional instability in recent years.

He said terrorist organizations were targeting civilians because they were losing their struggle against security forces.

The blast occurred in Guvenpark in Kizilay Qquare, a key transport hub and commercial area. 

NTV television said it was a suicide car bombing.

The news channel said explosives packed into a car were detonated close to bus stops near the park.

Several vehicles then caught fire, it said. The area is close to government offices, including several ministries.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

But Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said investigators were following up on solid leads, and that authorities "have concrete information on the terrorist group behind the attack."

Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the name of the organization behind the bombing would be released once the investigation finished on March 14.

The attack is the third to target Ankara in five months in an area close to the prime minister's office, parliament, and foreign embassies as Turkey engages against Islamic State militants (IS) and fighters from Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Canberra said Australia's ambassador to Turkey, James Larsen, was in his car at an intersection just 20 meters away from the bomb when it exploded.

Turkish court ordered a ban on access to Facebook and Twitter on March 13 after images of victims the deadly blast were shared on social media.

Some social-media users in Turkey reported difficulty in accessing the sites, CNN Turk and NTV news channels said.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and AFP

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