Islamic State blamed for blast in Turkey; 30 killed

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TURKISH ACTIVISTS TARGETED Two victims hold hands after an explosion in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on July 20, 2015, near the Syrian border. A suspected Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 31 people in an attack on a Turkish cultural center in the southern town of Suruc, where activists had gathered to prepare for an aid mission in the nearby Syrian town of Kobane. AFP PHOTO

TURKISH ACTIVISTS TARGETED
Two victims hold hands after an explosion in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on July 20, 2015, near the Syrian border. A suspected Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 31 people in an attack on a Turkish cultural center in the southern town of Suruc, where activists had gathered to prepare for an aid mission in the nearby Syrian town of Kobane. AFP PHOTO

ANKARA, Turkey: An apparent suicide bombing that killed at least 30 and wounded scores more has renewed fears that the Islamic State group could wreak havoc in Turkey, where nearly 1 million Syrians have sought refuge.

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The blast took place Monday in the Turkish city of Suruc, just a few miles from the Syrian city of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters and U.S. airstrikes defeated the Islamic State late last year. The explosion struck a gathering of leftist activists.

An official from the Turkish prime minister’s office said the Islamic State was the primary suspect.

“According to the first clues, it seems the Islamic State is responsible for the suicide attack,” said the official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “We have strong reasons to believe that the terrorist attack was perpetrated by IS. The investigation still continues.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was visiting northern Cyprus, called the bomb an “act of terror.”

“We are drowning in grief,” he told reporters accompanying him.

Video taken during a gathering of the Socialist Youth Association, which includes large numbers of Turkish and Kurdish political activists from throughout Turkey, caught the bomb’s explosion during a ceremony in which the activists called on the Turkish government to help rebuild Kobani, which was all but destroyed during last year’s fighting.

The death toll is expected to rise; more than 100 people were hospitalized with serious injuries, according to Turkish media reports.

TNS

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