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18 dead in car bomb attack on military in Turkish capital

18 dead in car bomb attack on military in Turkish capital
February 17, 2016

ANKARA – At least 18 people were killed and 45 injured in Ankara on Wednesday when a vehicle laden with explosives detonated as military buses waited at traffic lights in the center of the Turkish capital.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the attack was an act of terrorism. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who had been due to leave for a trip to Brussels later on Wednesday, canceled the trip, an official in his office said.

The governor's office said attack happened near the parliament, government buildings and military headquarters. Ambulance crews struggled to rescue the injured amid chaotic crowd scenes. 

"I heard a huge explosion. There was smoke and a really strong smell even though we were blocks away," a Reuters witness said.

Turkish media reports said many people were injured.

The blast comes after an attack in Ankara in October blamed on Islamic State, when two suicide bombers struck a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists outside the capital's main train station, killing more than 100 people.

Kurdish militants, radical leftists and Islamic radicals, have all staged bombings in Turkey in recent years.

A central strategy of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey, has been to attack military targets, although it has largely focused on the mainly Kurdish southeast. –Reuters