Posted: 17 December 2016
At least 13 soldiers were killed and 48 were injured when a car bomb hit a bus carrying off-duty military personnel in the central Turkish city of Kayseri.
The attack comes one week after a twin bombing targeted police personnel in Istanbul.
“The bus was full of soldiers going on their weekend leave,” said Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul. “The soldiers in the bus are from the commando brigade.”
Saturday’s blast is likely to further anger the Turkish public, who are frustrated by a string of deadly bombings this year, several of which have been claimed by Kurdish fighters, including last week’s Istanbul bombings which killed 44 and wounded more than 150.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak likened the attack to last Saturday’s deadly violence outside the stadium of Istanbul soccer team Besiktas, later claimed by an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“The car bomb attack resembles the Besiktas attack in terms of its style,” he told a group of reporters, adding the incident would not put Turkey off of its goal of fighting the group.
In Saturday’s blast, the bus was stopped at a red light near the campus of Erciyes University in Kayseri when a car approached it and then detonated, broadcaster NTV said.
Kurdish fighters have previously targeted buses carrying military or security forces.
Defence Minister Fikri Isik said on Twitter that Turkey would redouble its efforts to fight militancy. “We will fight these cowards with a national mobilisation,” he said.
Turkey faces multiple security threats including spillover from the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in northern Syria, where it is a member of a US-led coalition against the the armed group.
It also faces regular attacks from Kurdish armed groups, who have waged a three-decade insurgency for autonomy in largely Kurdish southeast Turkey.