UPDATE: 3:10 a.m. EDT — A Turkish government official said Monday that at least 22 victims of a suicide bombing at a Kurdish wedding in Gaziantep city were aged below 14, according to Reuters. At least 51 were killed and 69 were injured in the attack carried out by a child aged between 12 and 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said Sunday.
A child aged between 12 and 14 carried out a suicide bombing at a Kurdish wedding over the weekend in southeastern Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday. The bombing killed at least 51 people and injured 69 others —17 of them critically.
Saturday’s attack in Gaziantep city was the deadliest in the country this year. Although, no one claimed the attack, Erdoğan said the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, was behind it.
“The initial findings of the governor and our police forces indicate the attack has been perpetrated by Daesh,” Erdoğan said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “As you know, Daesh is trying to position and organize itself in Gaziantep. Security operations have been conducted and are still being conducted against the terrorist organization.”
The bombing comes amid ongoing tensions between the government and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — outlawed in Turkey.
According to pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the attack took place at the wedding party of one of its members. The bride and groom survived the blast that happened as guests went on to the streets to Gaziantep, close to the Syrian border.
“This attack targets those determined and persistent in peace, resolution, and those struggling for democracy, equality, freedom and justice,” the HDP said. “The attack was planned to disable the spread of peace and success of possible negotiations.”
Meanwhile, at least 43 deceased were buried late Sunday afternoon following Islamic tradition. Security sources told Reuters that funeral ceremonies would have to wait pending DNA tests.
The attack also comes after last month’s failed military coup that the government blamed on U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and his supporters.
Following Saturday’s attack, Erdoğan said in a written statement published by local media (in Turkish), that there was “no difference” between ISIS, Kurdish fighters of the PKK, and Gülen followers.
“Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us - you will not succeed!” Erdoğan said.