Turkey wedding blast: Death toll jumps to 51
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday put the death toll from a terror attack on a wedding ceremony in southeastern Gaziantep province at 51.

The attack took place in the Beybahce neighborhood of the Gaziantep province’s Sahinbey district around 10.50 p.m. (1950GMT) on Saturday, according to Provincial Governor's Office statement.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Erdogan said the early signs pointed to a Daesh attack, which he said was carried out by a 12-14 year old suicide bomber.

In a statement, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim condemned the bomb attack and vowed to combat terror, saying it had made a wedding ceremony into an occasion for mourning.

"No matter what the name of this villainous terror that meant [the loss of] innocence and life, the state, government, and nation will continue our determined fight against it," said Yildirim.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus condemned the "atrocious" and "villainous" attack in Gaziantep, praising the province’s spirit of "fellowship.”

On Twitter, Kurtulmus offered condolences to the families of the victims and a speedy recovery for the wounded.

Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu said those behind the attack cannot shatter Turkey's unity, adding: "In a spirit of high solidarity, our people will once again sweep over all the traps laid for them."

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said the province became the scene of a "horrific massacre."

On Twitter, he suggested that the attack was an attempt to "continue the July 15 coup attempt through the channels of various organizations."

Turkey has said U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen and his FETO terror group are behind the failed coup attempt last month that martyred 240 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.

Vest fragment

Meanwhile, the Gaziantep Prosecutor's Office said a fragment of the suicide bomber’s vest was recovered from the scene.

"Some information on the perpetrators has been obtained from investigations, and this will be shared with the public," the office added in a statement.

Deaths of innocents

The wedding took place on a street, a common practice in southern Turkey, especially during the summer.

Gulser Ates, who was wounded in the attack, said she was had been speaking with her neighbor when the blast happened. "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," Ates said. "I condemn terror. There were innocent children there. No one had done anything wrong."

Sukru Akdogan, the groom’s brother, said: "We couldn’t see anything. Nothing but body parts."
Last Modified: 2016-08-22 08:32:15
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