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Blast Hits Bus in Turkey, Kills 13 Soldiers

  • VOA News

People react to a bus that was hit by an explosion in Kayseri, Turkey, Dec. 17, 2016.

At least 13 Turkish soldiers were killed Saturday and dozens more were wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded next to a bus carrying off-duty military personnel near the entrance of a university in the central Turkish city of Kayseri, officials said.

Turkish news agencies are reporting that the bus had stopped at a red light outside the front gates of Erciyes University in Kayseri, when a car pulled up alongside it and exploded.

A map of Turkey showing Kayseri.
A map of Turkey showing Kayseri.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attributed the attack to Kurdish militants, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

“The style and goals of the attacks clearly show the aim of the separatist organization is to trip up Turkey, cut its strength and have it focus its energy and forces elsewhere,” Erdogan said in a statement.

He frequently refers to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) as “the separatist terrorist organization."

A destroyed public bus at the scene of a car bomb attack in central Anatolian city of Kayseri, Turkey, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.
A destroyed public bus at the scene of a car bomb attack in central Anatolian city of Kayseri, Turkey, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

The 13 people killed in the blast and 48 of those wounded were off-duty military personnel, according to military officials.

Multiple attacks in Turkey this year have been attributed to the PKK, including twin bombings last week that targeted police in Istanbul. The attacks killed 44 people, most of whom were riot police stationed outside a soccer stadium.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to Erdogan on Saturday to express his condolences and inform Erdogan that Russia was ready to increase its cooperation against terrorism in Turkey.

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