Kurdish rebels blamed for Turkey deaths

A string of bombings, blamed on Kurdish rebels and targeting Turkey’s security forces, killed at least 11 people and wounded 226 others.

Two of the attacks were car bombings that hit police stations in eastern Turkey, while a third — a roadside blast — targeted a military vehicle carrying soldiers in the south-east of the country.

Authorities say the assaults were carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has launched a campaign of car bombings targeting police stations or roadside bomb attacks security force vehicles. Last week, PKK commander Cemil Bayik threatened increased attacks against police in Turkish cities.

The wave of attacks come as Turkey is focused on a clampdown on suspected followers of a movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, which the government accuses of orchestrating a failed military coup last month, that killed at least 270 people.

The first car bombing hit a police station in the eastern province of Van late on Wednesday, killing a police officer and two civilians.

At least 73 other people including 53 civilians and 20 police officers were wounded, officials said.

Hours later, another car bombing hit police headquarters in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig, killing at least three police office officers and wounding 146 other people, officials said. At least 14 of them were in serious condition.

Video footage showed a large plume of smoke rising from the area. Cars were overturned and the windows of the four-storey building and its wings were blown out.

In the south-eastern province of Bitlis meanwhile, four soldiers were killed after the rebels detonated a roadside improvised explosive device as an armoured military vehicle was passing by, officials said. Seven other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

A government-paid village guard, helping the security forces battle the PKK was also killed in a clash with the rebels in the province, Anadolu reported.

Prime minister Binali Yildirim travelled to Elazig to visit the site of the bombing as well as those wounded in the attack. He told reporters there that both the PKK and the Gulen movement were directed by the same “intelligence” intent on causing Turkey harm, without elaborating.


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