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PKK Blamed for Deadly Istanbul Bombing

A police officer stands in front of the wreckage of a military bus after a roadside bomb blew up the bus in Istanbul, 22 Jun 2010

Turkish officials say a remote-controlled roadside bomb in the city of Istanbul has blasted a bus carrying soldiers and their families, killing five people, and wounding 12 others. The attack comes as fighting escalates between the PKK and the Turkish state.

Police blame the attack on the autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebel group the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

Provincial governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said the attack was an act of terrorism.

"We have lost four people during a roadside bomb attack, detonated by remote control, targeting a bus carrying military personnel," he said. "Three of the victims were sergeants, one of them was civilian."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the dead included the 17-year-old daughter of an officer. The bombing raised the number of Turkish soldiers killed in rebel attacks since Friday to 17.

According to the pro-Kurdish Firat News agency, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group operates in Turkish cities and has claimed several deadly bombings in past years.

Ergemen Bagis, the minister for EU enlargement condemned the attack and looked to Europe for support.

"Terrorists don't discriminate when they attack as you saw this morning," said Bagis. "A 16-year-old girl was also martyred. So the fight against terrorism should not discriminate either. What we expect from our European allies is not to look the other way."

Bagis called for EU countries to crackdown on PKK money-raising activities, and to extradite its members back to Turkey.

Ankara claims much of the PKK funds comes from Kurds living in Europe.

Rebels fighting for autonomy in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast have dramatically stepped up their attacks on Turkish targets this month and had previously threatened to expand their war to cities in the west of the country.

After the attack, Mr. Erdogan said his country would maintain its "struggle against terrorism," and insisted that the government would provide whatever is needed to the country's military to battle the rebels.