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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkey Cites Terrorism in Blast Killing at Least 30 at Wedding

By VOA News August 20, 2016

Turkish authorities say at least 30 people were killed Saturday and nearly 100 others wounded in an explosion at a private wedding in the country's troubled southeast.

The state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the governor of Gaziantep province as saying the blast was the result of a "terror attack."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said appeared to be a suicide bombing. Other officials speculated about involvement of Kurdish rebels or Islamic State militants.

The blast occurred at a wedding hall in Gaziantep, a major Turkish city with a large Kurdish population about 60 kilometers north of the Syrian border. Local reports cited a heavy Kurdish presence at the wedding, fueling speculation of IS jihadist involvement.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party was quoted as saying its members had been present at the wedding, which also was attended by many women and children.

The area also was the site of three smaller explosions in recent days that the Ankara government linked to rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK.

The PKK launched an armed rebellion in 1984, seeking an autonomous homeland in a vast area of the southeast bordered by Syria, Iraq and Iran. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

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