CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Turkey: Wedding Site Bombing Claims 54 Lives, Including 22 Children

Turkey
(Photo : Verity Cridland/Flickr/CC) About 54 died and over 70 were injured in a bombing attack targeting an outdoor wedding ceremony in the city of Gaziantep, Turkey.

About 54 people were killed and some 70 injured when a suspected ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up at a Kurdish wedding celebration in Gaziantep province, Turkey. At least 22 of the victims in the attack were under the age of 14.

The blast occurred when henna celebrations were being held out on the street about an hour before midnight, which were mostly attended by women and children.

The wounded were undergoing treatment at local hospitals, and 14 were in critical condition.

President Tayyip Erdogan said that initial investigations suggested the hand of the Islamic State in the bombing.

ISIS has bombed Kurdish gatherings in the past to inflame tensions between the Kurdish community and Turkey.

Remnants of an explosive vest were found at the scene. Earlier it was reported that the suicide bomber was aged between 12 and 14, but the government later said that it could not be confirmed.

ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

One of the wounded guests, Gülser Ateş, told Daily Sabah that she was speaking with her neighbor when the bomb blew off.

"I don't know what happened. The only thing I know is that my neighbor died on top of me. If she had not fallen on me, I would have died, too. Her body saved me," Ateş said. "I condemn terror. There were innocent children there. No one had done anything wrong."

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party said that it was one of their members' wedding.

"Over the years, Gaziantep has gradually become a nest for ISIS," said the statement from the party's Central Executive Board.

"The people of Gaziantep have been living in an environment with ISIS members who amass weapons and organize mass meetings."

ISIS is thought to have its presence all across Turkey. The state-run press agency Anadolu reported last month that over 5,000 suspected ISIS members were held in the country.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister, has vowed to "completely cleanse" ISIS from northern Syria.

Turkey bombed ISIS' targets in city of Jarabulus in the northern part of Syria.

Turkey also bombed Kurdish YPG targets in Manbij. YPG fighters have gained significant victories against ISIS, and drove the militant organization from Manbij, and cut a major supply route to ISIS from Turkey.

Erdogan said that the country will not yield to the terrorists.

"Our country and nation only have a single message to those who attack us -- you will not succeed!" he stated.

"The aim of terror is to scare the people but we will not allow this," said Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who represents Gaziantep in the Turkish parliament.

Tags Turkey wedding site bombing, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, ISIS, Kurdish YPG fighters

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