Female suicide bomber hits Turkish city, wounds at least 13 people

  • AP, Istanbul
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2016 01:12 IST
Police officers secure the area after a suicide bomb explosion outside the historical Ulu Cami in Bursa, Turkey. (AP)

A female suicide bomber blew herself up in a historic district of Turkey’s fourth largest city on Wednesday, wounding 13 people, officials said.

The assailant was “aged about 25” and only fragments were left of her body after the attack in the city of Bursa, said Turkey’s health minister, Mehmet Muezzinoglu.

He said 13 individuals were wounded in the attack but none of them were in critical condition. Another seven people sought medical attention over ear pain and hearing problems as a consequence of the blast.

Bursa Governor Munir Karaloglu said authorities were still trying to determine the identity and affiliation of the woman. He denied reports that two other accomplices were seen fleeing the scene, saying they were citizens fleeing in panic and that she acted alone.

The explosion ripped through an area that is home to an Ottoman-era mosque and bazaar in the northwestern city, which is a popular tourist destination for both locals and foreigners. Turkish channels broadcast footage of people fleeing the area as police and ambulances rushed to the scene.

The attack occurred a day after the United States issued a new warning to its citizens about “credible indications” of terrorist threats against tourist areas in Turkey.

More than 200 people have been killed in seven suicide bombings, including Wednesday’s, across Turkey in the past year.

Kurdish militants, who have been fighting state security forces in a renewed conflict in the southeast, have claimed two such attacks.

But the main perpetrator, according to Turkish authorities, has been the Islamic State group, which controls territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq. The extremist group is known to have cells in Turkey but never claimed responsibility for any of the suicide attacks on Turkish soil.

Turkey is a member of the U.S.-led coalition against IS, allowing allied jets to carry out bombing runs against the militants from its bases. Turkish tanks periodically fire at IS targets in Syria in response to cross-border missiles which have claimed 18 lives in the border town of Kilis this year.

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