Monday, 14 March 2016

Car bombing in Ankara kill 34

Western media couldn’t help but notice this. But then it is Turkey as “victim”.

Car bombing rocks Turkish capital Ankara, 34 dead, 125 injured

A blast caused by a suicide car bombing hit the center of Ankara on Sunday evening. The explosion resulted in over a hundred casualties.

Emergency workers work at the explosion site in Ankara, Turkey March 13, 2016. © Tumay Berkin

13 March, 2016

At least 34 people were killed and 125 injured in the explosion, according to the Turkish health ministry, as cited by Sputnik news agency.

The blast occurred near Guven Park in the city center.

The suicide car bomb went off at 6:43 pm local time (16:43 GMT), Turkish broadcaster TRT said.

Reports that the explosion in 's was a car bomb. Blast site near Guven Park and a major transit hub.

The site of the blast is close to a courthouse and buildings housing the country’s justice and interior ministries.

What appears to be CCTV cam footage was posted on YouTube that allegedly shows the moment of the explosion. A couple of buses can be seen in the video, before a passing by car slows down near them and a huge blast is seen.

Turkish authorities have announced that they will release the name of the group responsible for the deadly blast and the results of the probe into the bombing on Monday. “I believe the investigation will be concluded tomorrow and the findings will be announced,” Efkan Ala said in comments broadcast live on local TV, as quoted by Reuters.

The blast was caused by "explosive-laden vehicle," according to Reuters citing Ankara governor's office.

The blast appears to have been triggered by a car exploding near a bus stop, TRT said. Guven Park adjoins a major transportation hub.

Patlama güvenpark tarafında olmus

It’s a car bomb, [it happened] in the heart of Ankara... and today is Sunday, many people may be outside,” Turkish journalist Onur Burcak Belli told RT by phone, adding that the scene of the blast is “very close to a shopping mall” and that “many cars are on fire and apparently a public bus is also on fire.”

I was nearby when I heard the explosion, and there were casualties all around... the numbers of dead are increasing,” an eyewitness told RT by phone, adding that “the explosion was actually bigger than the last one in Ankara.”


No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

A security official said that initial findings suggest the attack was carried out by Kurdish PKK fighters or a group affiliated with them, Reuters reported.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has issued a statement condemning the attack, saying it shares “the huge pain felt along with our citizens,” AP reported. The party has been previously accused of not speaking out against PKK violence.

💥Explosion in , , 📸

Images allegedly showing the aftermath of the explosion emerged on social media. A huge fire could be seen in some of them.

A large cloud of smoke rising into the dark could also be seen from the distance.

Numerous loud sirens could be heard in a Periscope transmission from the scene, in which people can be seen running by, with some screaming.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to bring “terrorism to its knees” following the bombing, avowing that the country would exercise its right to self-defense to avoid such attacks in the future.

Our people should not worry, the struggle against terrorism will for certain end in success and terrorism will be brought to its knees,” Erdogan said.

The US and the EU, as well as NATO, have condemned the attack and conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims, while confirming their solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terror.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has sent his sympathies “to the people of Turkey,” TASS agency reported.

On behalf of the Russian Federation and on my behalf, I extend my condolences… to the close ones of those who died, and wish the speedy recovery to those injured,” Medvedev wrote.

In February, 28 people were killed and 61 injured in a blast in Ankara, when a car bomb, reportedly targeting military personnel, went off close to the parliament building. Forces linked to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia were accused of committing that terrorist attack by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

A splinter group of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), later claimed responsibility, saying the bombing had been in retaliation for Turkey’s military operation in the country’s southeast and vowing to continue its attacks.

Turkey blocks Facebook, Twitter following deadly Ankara blast – reports

A view of the site of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey March 13, 2016. © Stringer

Turkish authorities banned Twitter and Facebook after images spread on social media depicting the suicide car bombing that killed and injured dozens in the Turkish capital of Ankara, local broadcasters reported.

Turkey’s telecommunications authority, TIB, blocked access to social media after a court-ordered ban was imposed, Turkish NTV and CNN Turk reported.

Access to Facebook, Twitter, and a number of other sites has been blocked because images showing victims of the tragedy were being shared on those platforms, according to the court.

Difficulty in accessing the sites has been reported by users.

Broadcast media has also allegedly been banned from covering certain aspects of the attack. A journalist from Today’s Zaman, a sister publication of the newspaper Zaman that was recently taken over by the government, said “a ban on networks for coverage of explosion in Ankara” had been issued.

The blast rocked the crowded center of the Turkish capital on Sunday evening, killing at least 34 people and injuring 125. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

RT crew comes under fire in suspected ‘targeted attack’ while filming in Daraa, Syria

A general view of a damaged street in Daraa © Wsam Almokdad
A general view of a damaged street in Daraa © Wsam Almokdad / Reuters

Mortars landed near to where an RT crew was filming in the city of Daraa in southwest Syria, RT’s Lizzie Phelan reported. Journalists might have been targeted by the opposition side, an accompanying military official said.

"Two mortars [were] fired from opposition turf near where we were filming," Phelan said, reporting from the area close to the border with Jordan.

A mortar shell hit a building near to where RT journalists were working.
No injuries have been reported following the incident.

"We were in the streets of Daraa city talking to local people five years since the war began, and our work there was cut short when a mortar was fired from opposition territory, landing on a building very close to us," Phelan told RT by phone shortly after the incident.

The crew had to cut short the interview, get into the car and leave the area.
"Just a few seconds after we got into the car, another mortar landed in the same area," she said.

"The general in charge of the area believes that the attack was a targeted attack," the RT reporter said, adding that although there is no confirmation to prove or deny this allegation, the military official said that the area where RT was filming "is very rarely targeted by mortars."

"He believes that local people who support the opposition called fighters on the other side of the frontline to say that there was a media crew in the area," Phelan said, adding that according to the general "the opposition doesn't like media filming in government-held territories."

"We were somewhat successful," she added, saying that the crew managed to escape the scene and quickly get to Damascus.

The city of Daraa, which is now rarely attacked, is known as the cradle of the uprising in Syria. For five years it has been "pretty much a divided city" between the government forces and various opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Army, Phelan reported. Extremists from the Al-Nusra front have also been involved in fighting in the area, she said, adding that the terrorists still control some of the border crossings near Jordan.  

"There's an array of different groups in non-government held territory [in Daraa], it's still a hotspot in the Syrian war," she said.

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