ANKARA: A total of 56 people were being treated in hospital after a car bomb attack on a bus in the central Turkish city of Kayseri on Dec.17, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, an attack the military has said killed 13.
Soylu, who was speaking at a joint news conference with the health minister, said that 12 of the wounded were in intensive care and four were in critical condition. He did not give an update on the death toll.
Soylu also said seven suspects were detained in connection with Kayseri bombing, search under way for five others. “The terrorist was identified,” Soylu added.
Health minister Recep Akdag told the news conference that a large number of the wounded were lightly injured.
The military earlier said that 13 soldiers were killed and 48 injured when a car bomb hit a bus transporting off-duty military personnel.
The soldiers – all low-ranking privates and non-commissioned officers – had been given permission for leave from the commando headquarters in the city, it said in a statement.
The wounded were being treated in hospital while there could also be additional civilian casualties, it added.
Turkey’s Dogan News Agency had said the blast hit the bus as it drove past a car believed to be packed with explosives.
Broadcaster NTV also said the bus was carrying off-duty soldiers and civilians when it was hit by the blast near a bus stop at the campus of Erciyes University.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been informed of the attack by the chief of staff General Hulusi Akar, Anadolu Agency said.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told journalists in Kahramanmaraş “A suicide bomb attack occurred and the injured are receiving treatment in hospitals.”
“These incidents cannot weaken our struggle rather it increases our determination”, he added.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu phoned the prime minister and offered his condolences over the attack.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said terror would be defeated, If people stand right and proud after the attack.
The other opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli remarked the necessity of struggling against terrorism, in his written statement.
Kurdish issue-focused People’s Democratic Party (HDP) issued a statement following the attack, saying that HDP strongly condemned the attack.
Moreover, Kayseri Governor Süleyman Kamçı earlier said it was a suicide attack. “The car bomb was detonated by a suicide attacker,” Kamçı added.
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, without elaborating.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), imposed a temporary ban that includes live broadcast from the scene, footage taken from the time of the blast and afterwards, and images of bodies, the agency said in a statement.
An investigation to the attack is underway.
The blast came a week after a twin bombing outside an Istanbul soccer stadium killed 44 people and wounded more than 100, an attack claimed by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.__Hurriyet