GAZIANTEP, Turkey -- At least 50 people were killed in a southeastern Turkish city close to Syria when a suspected suicide bomber linked to Islamic State jihadists attacked a wedding thronged with guests, officials said Sunday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the IS extremist group was the “likely perpetrator” of the bomb attack in Gaziantep late Saturday that targeted a celebration attended by many Kurds.
The explosion was the latest attack to rock the key NATO member in a horrific year that has seen strikes blamed on Kurdish and Islamist militants as well as a bloody July 15 botched coup.
Gaziantep governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement that 50 people had been killed, raising a previous toll of 30. He had previously said 94 were woungAIded in “the abhorrent terror bomb attack on a wedding”.
Erdogan said in a statement there was “no difference” between the group of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen whom he blames for the failed coup bid, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) “and Daesh (IS), the likely perpetrator of the attack in Gaziantep”.
Reports said the wedding had a strong Kurdish presence. The Dogan news agency said the bride and groom were from the mainly Kurdish region of Siirt further to the east and had themselves been uprooted due to the flare-up in violence with Kurdish militants.