UPDATE: 2:37 p.m. EST -- At least 28 people were killed and 61 injured following a large explosion in Ankara, Turkey, officials in the capital city said Wednesday. The blast occured close to Turkey's parliament and military headquarters. It has been labeled an "act of terrorism" by Turkey's deputy prime minister, although it remains unclear who was responsible.
UPDATE: 1:39 p.m. EST -- At least 18 people were killed and an additional 45 wounded in an apparent attack in Ankara, Turkey, the governor of the capital city said Wednesday. The blast, believed to be due to a car bomb, occurred as military buses passed near the armed forces’ headquarters and parliament, Reuters reported.
At least five people have reportedly been killed and at least 10 were injured after a loud explosion was reported in the Turkish capital Ankara Wednesday. The city’s governor said the explosion appeared to be due to a car bomb outside military barracks, the Telegraph reported.
The explosion occurred in an area near the country’s parliament and military headquarters, Hürriyet Daily News reported. Pictures and videos shared on social media showed smoke rising from the area and a large fire.
“We have received information and we are looking into it,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.
A spokesperson for the ruling government AK-Party referred to the blast as a “terror attack,” the Telegraph reported. The government has reportedly placed a ban on domestic reporting of the incident, as has frequently been the case following attacks in the past.
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) February 17, 2016
The suspected bomb follows a series of attacks over the last year, as the country has increasingly become involved in the Syrian civil war. Turkey is home to more than two million Syrian refugees and supports rebel groups fighting Syrian leader Bashar Assad. The Turkish government is also part of a U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
Extremists have carried out a series of attacks on Turkish soil in recent months, including suicide bombings in Ankara in October that resulted in more than 100 deaths. Last month, an alleged supporter of ISIS killed 10 tourists in Istanbul’s popular touristic Sultan Ahmet district.
It was unclear whether the group was responsible for Wednesday’s explosion. The country has also experienced increasing attacks from left-wing and Kurdish militants, who charge the government with failing to stem the spread of ISIS.
A decades-long war with Kurdish militants has reemerged in recent months, as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has launched attacks against military targets, primarily in the country’s southeastern, predominantly-Kurdish region. The Turkish military has placed several cities under curfew and has launched an aggressive military campaign against Kurdish militants.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 17, 2016