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Police hold 27 after deadly Istanbul bombing: report

The Turkish police have detained 27 people as part of a probe into a deadly bombing on a bus in Istanbul, agencies reported Wednesday.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2010 21:13 IST

The Turkish police have detained 27 people as part of a probe into a deadly bombing on a bus in Istanbul, agencies reported Wednesday.

The roadside bomb, detonated by remote control, targeted a bus carrying army personnel to work Tuesday, killing four soldiers and the teenage daughter of an officer and wounding about a dozen people.

It was not immediately clear whether the suspected perpetrators of the attack were among the 27 detainees, rounded up in a joint operation by anti-terror police and special forces, according to Anatolia news agency.

Radical Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for the blast, the latest episode in surging violence since jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan said through his lawyers last month he was abandoning efforts to seek dialogue with Ankara for a peaceful end to the 26-year Kurdish conflict.

Ocalan's separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) had threatened to spread violence to urban areas after it killed 12 soldiers in weekend attacks in remote regions in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

The attacks have triggered nationwide outrage and turned up pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for tougher measures against the PKK, with many also urging him to shelve plans to expand Kurdish freedoms.

Popular anger simmered at the funeral of the youngest victim of Tuesday's bombing, 17-year-old high school student Buse Sariyag, who was travelling on the bus with her father.

She was laid to rest in Elmadag, an Ankara suburb.

"The martyrs are immortal, the motherland is indivisible," shouted a crowd of some 5,000 people, waving Turkish flags, as they marched to the cemetary after funeral prayers at a local mosque.

Army chief Ilker Basbug and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek attended the funeral.

Erdogan's government has pledged to boost Kurdish freedoms and economic development in the southeast, hoping to discourage separatism and cajole the PKK into laying down arms.

The faltering initiative, announced last year, has met with public hostility amid persisting rebel violence, but Erdogan said Tuesday he remained committed to reform.

Ankara however rejects dialogue with the PKK, insisting the rebels should either surrender or face the army.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for self-rule in the southeast in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.