Ankara bomb blast death toll rises to 95

Published October 11th, 2015 - 09:55 GMT

At least 95 are dead and nearly 246 injured after two explosions rocked Turkey's capital city in a terrorist attack during a peace rally.

The bombings, considered the deadliest terror attack in modern Turkey's history, happened seconds apart near Ankara's main train station as hundreds were preparing for a lunchtime peace rally in Sihhiye Square organized by the Confederation of Public Sector Trades' Unions. The rally was to call for the end to conflict between the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Turkish state. At least one suicide bomber was behind the explosions, officials said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said at least 48 people are in critical condition. "Unfortunately, we are afraid that the number may increase due to the number of heavy injuries," he said.

The attacks happened ahead of a re-election on Nov. 1 after a failed vote to elect a single-party government. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, as well as other ministers, was briefed on the incident. Davutoglu canceled his next few days of campaigning and held an emergency meeting with the country's security heads.

Leaders of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party Peoples' Democratic Party blamed the state for the attack. Ankara's chief public prosecutor said five prosecutors have been assigned to the case.

The US National Security Council condemned the bombings, saying, "The fact that this attack occurred ahead of a planned rally for peace underscores the depravity of those behind it and serves as another reminder of the need to confront shared security challenges in the region."

"The United States will continue to stand side-by-side with the Turkish government and people as together we take on the scourge of terrorism. Far from deterring these efforts, such horrific acts of violence will only strengthen our resolve," the NSC said.

Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, allowing the US to launch airstrikes from the Incirlik Air Base.

By Amy R. Connolly

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