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13 soldiers die, more hurt in Turkey blast

13 soldiers die, more hurt in Turkey blast

13 soldiers were killed and 50 more military members wounded.

A car bombing in central Turkey killed 13 soldiers and wounded more than 50 other members of the military on Saturday, the latest in a series of attacks in the country.

The attack, in the city of Kayseri, targeted a bus carrying soldiers on weekend leave, the Turkish army said in a statement. Health Minister Recep Akdag said 56 people had been wounded in the attack, including four who were in critical condition, according to The Associated Press. The Turkish military said 48 members of the armed forces were among the wounded.

Video footage showed a bus in flames near a university campus as people tried to extinguish the fire. A wrecked car was nearby.

“I saw the explosion,” the Ihlas News Agency quoted a witness as saying. “The engine of the bus was flung. The bodies of people who died in the bus were flung, too.”

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK.

“The form and targets of the acts reveal with clarity that the real aim of the separatist organization is to stand in the way of Turkey, trip it, make it focus its power and energy elsewhere,” Erdogan said in a written statement, referring to the PKK.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that Turkish authorities had identified the Kayseri attacker and that seven people had been taken into custody in connection with the attack, according to the AP. The police said they were searching for five other suspects.

Turkey has been hit by frequent bomb attacks, the latest one a week ago. A double bombing in central Istanbul killed 44 people and wounded more than 150. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a Kurdish militant group considered an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, claimed responsibility.

Turkey is also wary of Kurdish factions that have been fighting against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq.

“We know that these attacks we have endured are not unrelated to happenings in Syria and Iraq, or even our economical fluctuations,” Erdogan said, according to the AP.

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