Turkey launches strikes in N Iraq following Ankara blast


Ankara—Six soldiers were killed and another was wounded in a roadside bombing that hit an armored military vehicle in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir on Thursday, semi-official Anadolu news agency reported, citing a statement from the Turkish General Staff.
The attack comes as the Turkish military launched airstrikes in northern Iraq which followed an explosion Wednesday in Ankara in which 28 people were killed and 61 more injured.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed the strikes on Thursday and said the attack in Ankara was carried out by Saleh Najar, a man born in northern Syria. He allegedly has links to the YPG, a Kurdish separatist group.
“It has been revealed that a YPG member who infiltrated from Syria with members of the separatist terror organization conducted this attack,” Davutoglu said.
Turkey blamed the PKK — another Kurdish separatist group that the United States and Turkey both call a terror organization — for the Thursday attack.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala said that 14 people have been detained in different provinces throughout the country in connection with the Ankara blast, according to Anadolu.
Saleh Muslim, the head of the YPG, denied that the Syrian Kurdish group is responsible for the bombing in the capital. Wednesday’s explosion occurred near three military vehicles and a private vehicle in central Ankara, surrounded by Turkish Parliament buildings, Anadolu reported. The vehicles were stopped at a traffic light.
Authorities believe a bomb-laden vehicle caused the blast, Kiliclar said, according to Anadolu. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 20 of those killed were military personnel.
Video aired on CNN Turk showed large flames reaching toward the night sky from an area on the ground. Lights from numerous emergency vehicles flashed nearby.
The Turkish military said it was targeting “top figures” from the PKK in Thursday’s airstrikes. Northern Iraq is home to the majority of that country’s Kurdish population.
A top PKK leader, Cemil Bayik, said his organization does not know who carried out Wednesday’s attack in Ankara.
“We know there are people who have conducted such acts before as retaliation of massacres in Kurdistan,” Bayik said in an interview with the PKK-affiliated Firat News Agency. “Those who conducted the attack will probably announce why soon.” There have been no reported claim of responsibility.—Agencies

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