Twenty-eight people were killed on Monday in a suicide attack in the Turkish town of Suruc near the border with Syria, officials said, indicating that Islamic State group members were the likely culprits.
“The Turkish authorities have strong reason to believe that the terrorist attack was perpetrated by ISIS,” an official told AFP, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a near simultaneous attack near the Syrian town of Kobani, across the border from Suruc, “strengthens our suspicions.”
“A terrorist attack took place in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa today (Monday) around 12 pm local time (0900 GMT),” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
An official in the prime minister’s office said 28 people were killed and nearly 100 injured.
“It is a suicide attack,” the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Interior Ministry condemned the attack and vowed that the perpetrators would be found as soon as possible and brought to justice.
“We are calling on everyone to show common sense in the face of this terrorist attack targeting our country’s unity,” the Interior Ministry said.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was to send three ministers — Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, Interior Minister Sebahattin Ozturk and Labor Minister Faruk Celik — to the region, his office announced.
The Turkish DHA news agency said the blast in Suruc occurred at a cultural center while a political group was holding a news conference on Kobani’s reconstruction. News reports said 300 people from the Federation of Socialist Youths were staying at the center and were preparing to travel to Kobani to help with the rebuilding.
Suruc is just across the border from the Syrian city of Kobani, the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish groups and the Islamic State group. Kobani was the Islamic State group’s biggest defeat last year since the militants established control over large swaths of Iraq and Syria. The city has become a symbol of Kurdish resistance.
The second bomb went off Monday south of Kobani near a Kurdish militia checkpoint on the road to Syria’s largest city of Aleppo, according to a Kurdish official in Kobani, Idriss Naasan. It caused minor damage and no casualties, he said.
Kobani was also the scene of surprise IS attacks last month that killed more than 200 people.
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