This is the shocking moment a suicide car bomb blast ripped through the Turkish capital, killing at least 37 people and injuring 125 others.
Two suspected Kurdish militants, one of them a woman, targeted people milling near bus stops in the heart of Ankara yesterday.
Dramatic CCTV footage appeared to show cars moving past a bus stop close to Ankara’s main square before a massive ball of fire erupts, setting nearby vehicles ablaze as people run for cover.
A police source said the bomb had been packed with pellets and nails to cause maximum injury and carnage.
Turkish warplanes responded by pounding Kurdish rebel targets hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to bring terrorism ‘to its knees’.
Eleven jets raided 18 positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq, including the Qandil mountains where the group’s leadership is based.
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This is the shocking moment a suicide car bomb blast ripped through the Turkish capital, killing at least 37 people and injuring 125 others
Dramatic CCTV footage appeared to show cars moving past a bus stop before a massive ball of fire erupts, setting nearby vehicles ablaze
Several vehicles were destroyed or damaged in the explosion, which took place in the Guven Park near busy Kizilay square in Ankara
Footage from the scene showed the exact moment the bomb went off
Police also detained dozens of suspected Kurdish militants in a southern Turkish city and imposed a round-the-clock curfew in the southeastern town of Sirnak in order to conduct operations against rebels there.
Security officials said one of two suspects was a woman who joined the PKK militant group in 2013.
They identified the woman as having been born in 1992 and being from the eastern Turkish city of Kars.
The other was a man whose severed hand was found 300 metres from the bast site.
Thirty victims were killed at the scene and seven others died in hospital.
Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 71 people were still being treated, of whom 19 were in a serious condition.
Mr Erdogan said Turkey would use its right to self-defence to prevent future attacks and called for national unity.
‘Our people should not worry, the struggle against terrorism will for certain end in success and terrorism will be brought to its knees,’ he said.
Emergency workers work at the explosion site in Ankara’s main road after an explosion ripped through a bus stop in the capital
Ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion on Kizilay square, a key shopping and transport hub close to the city’s embassy area
Firefighters extinguish a burning car after the explosion which occurred near a crowded bus station
A vehicle burns after an explosion that killed at least 37 people and wounded 125 others in Ankara
People and policemen try to help a wounded victim after the blast which has killed dozens of people in the Turkish capital Ankara
A wounded person reacts near the scene of a blast in Ankara, on Kizilay square, a key hub in the city
However, a local media analyst told MailOnline the death toll could be considerably higher as hospital sources reported that at least 138 bodies have been recovered
Turkey’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has postponed a visit to Jordan following the deadly bombing in Ankara.
Interior minister Efkan Ala said Sunday’s attack would not deter the country from its fight against terrorism.
British prime minister David Cameron said he was ‘appalled’ by the atrocity, tweeting: ‘My thoughts are with all those affected.’
US State Department spokesman John Kirby said: ‘We reaffirm our strong partnership with our Nato ally Turkey in combating the shared threat of terrorism.’
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said: ‘There can be no justification of such heinous acts of violence.’
Several vehicles were destroyed or damaged in the explosion, which took place in the Guven Park near busy Kizilay square in central Ankara.
Forensic experts investigate the scene of the explosion a day after a suicide car bomb ripped through a busy square in central Ankara
Kizilay neighbourhood is a key commercial and transport hub close to government agencies, embassies and parliamentary buildings
Inconsolable: Relatives of victims killed in the explosion try to comfort each other in front of the forensic medicine institution in Ankara
Grieving: Violence has spiralled in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast since a two year ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July
Relatives of victims who were killed in an explosion wait comfort each other in front of the forensic medicine institution in Ankara
Family members mourn as they wait outside the Medical Forensic Centre a day after the deadly explosion in Ankara, Turkey
Relatives of victims weep at a forensic building as they wait for the body of their loved ones a day after the suicide car bombing
Gunfire was also heard after blast, while ambulances rushed to the area, officials said.
A local reporter said the blast took place where several bus stops are located in one of Ankara’s main roads.
The Kizilay neighbourhood is a key commercial and transport hub close to a number of government agencies, embassies and parliamentary buildings.
NTV television said the explosion occurred as a car slammed into a bus, suggesting that the blast may have been caused by a car bomb.
The Ankara’s governor office said: ‘The blast was caused by a vehicle packed with explosives close to Kizilay square’.
Blown out: Broken windows of a shop are seen close to the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Ankara
Forensic experts investigate the scene of the explosion on Monday after a suicide car bomb ripped through a busy square in Ankara
Security and forensic experts work at the site of Sunday’s explosion in the busy centre of the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Monday
However, a local media analyst told MailOnline the death toll could be considerably higher as hospital sources reported that at least 138 bodies have been recovered.
He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.
An Ankara court ordered a ban on access to Facebook and Twitter in the country after images from the explosion were shared.
Smoke could be seen rising above the area from a distance 2.5 km away. Dramatic CCTV footage appeared to show the moment a huge car bomb went off.
In the video, several cars can be seen moving past a bus in a road close to Ankara’s main square, Kizilay. A massive blast can then be seen, setting nearby vehicles ablaze.
Medical sources said the wounded had been taken to 10 different hospitals around the city, with a dozen said to be in a very serious condition.
A huge explosion has hit the Turkish capital of Ankara killing and wounding many people
The blast occurred near a bus station in central Ankara, capital of Turkey
Forensic officers work on the site of the suicide attack in Ankara after a car bomb was detonated in the heart of the capital
Pictures of the aftermath showed cars burning, charred buses and several scattered bodies
The US embassy in Ankara had warned about a potential terrorist attack with a statement on 11 March
Burnt vehicles and charred buses can be seen after the explosion in central Ankara
A television channel said the bomb exploded close to bus stops near a park at Ankara’s main square, Kizila
Dogan Asik, 28, said he was on a packed bus when the explosion occurred.
‘There were about 40 people,’ said Asik, who sustained injuries on his face and arm. ‘It (the bus) slowed down. A car went by us, and ‘boom’ it exploded.’
The explosion occurred less than a month after a car bomb attack in central Ankara killed 29 people. Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for that attack.
The US embassy in Ankara issued a warning about a potential terrorist attack on March 11.
A woman sits sobs on the sidewalk after the attack that ripped through a busy square in central Ankara
Forensic police work near burnt-out vehicles at the scene of the Ankara blast
A local reporter said the blast took place where several bus stops are located in one of Ankara’s main roads
Several vehicles were destroyed or damaged in the explosion, which took place in the Guven Park in central Ankara
The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievler area of Ankara. U.S. citizens should avoid this area,’ it said.
‘We advise U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings and local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and follow local authority instructions.’
The blast is the second major attack in the capital in less than a month after a suicide car bombing targeting the military killed 29 people, claimed by a dissident faction of the PKK.
The fact the militants were able to strike again so soon in an area close to the prime minister’s office, parliament and foreign embassies will raise fresh questions about Turkey’s ability to manage the twin security threat posed by ISIS and Kurdish rebels.
Fadi Hakura, an associate fellow and Turkey expert who is based at Chatham House in London called on Mr Erdogan to pursue further peace talks with the Kurds.
The explosion occurred less than a month after a car bomb attack in central Ankara killed 29 people
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, he said: ‘I think the attack bears the hallmarks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or the PKK. Islamic State goes for soft targets such as tourists or activists instead.
‘The President should go back to reopening peace talks with moderate Kurdish nationalists, taking a more balanced approach to Syria and to restore ties with Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries.
‘There’s no doubt that Europe could show a bit more solidarity with Turkey, but really the issue lies with the Turkish Government. I think the best way forward is a political settlement because in Turkey it is political rather than security or military.
‘I think there is a pacification of the quagmire in Syria, this will help the prospects of resolution. The Kurdish fighters that control much of the [area] are closely linked. Any peace in Syria will positively spill over into Turkey itself.
‘The Turkish accession process is pretty much a pantomime, it is not going to happen in my lifetime. I don’t think it has any affect whatsoever, Europe no longer places any demands on Turkey to improve its human rights or freedoms.’
WORST BOMB ATTACKS IN TURKEY SINCE 1982
– March 13, 2016: At least 27 people are killed and dozens wounded in a car bombing near Ankara’s main Kizilay square.
– February 17, 2016: 29 are killed in a car bombing targeting the Turkish military in Ankara. The attack is claimed by a group calling itself the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) but Turkish authorities say there was also a Syrian Kurdish link.
– January 12, 2016: Eleven German tourists are killed and another 16 people wounded in a suicide attack by a Syrian bomber in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, the ancient tourist heart of the city.
– October 10, 2015: 103 people are killed and more than 500 wounded in twin suicide bombings targeting a pro-Kurdish peace rally in Ankara.
– July 20, 2015: 34 people are killed and about 100 injured in a suicide bombing in the predominantly-Kurdish town of Suruc near the border with Syria. Turkish officials blame IS.
– May 11, 2013: A twin car bomb attack kills 52 people in Reyhanli near the Syrian border. Ankara blames pro-Damascus groups.
– February 11, 2013: 17 people are killed when a Syrian minibus explodes in Reyhanli.
– July 27, 2008: Two bombings in Istanbul leave 17 dead and 115 wounded. The authorities blame the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
– September 12, 2006: Ten people, including children, are killed in a bomb blast in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the mainly Kurdish southeast. The PKK denies involvement.
– November 15 and 20, 2003: Four suicide car bomb attacks in Istanbul hit two synagogues, the British consulate and a branch of the British multinational bank HSBC, leaving 63 dead, including Britain’s consul general, and hundreds wounded. The attacks are claimed by Al-Qaeda and a Turkish extremist group named the Islamic Front of Raiders of the Great Orient.
– March 13, 1999: Twelve are killed in a firebombing on an Istanbul shopping mall. The attack is claimed by the PKK, which later retracts its statement.
– December 25, 1991: Explosives and firebombs are hurled at an Istanbul department store, killing 17 people and injuring 23. The attack is blamed on the PKK.
– September 6, 1986: A twin suicide bombing claimed by Islamic Jihad kills 22 people at a synagogue in Istanbul.
– August 7, 1982: A bomb at Ankara airport followed by a gun battle leaves 11 dead and 63 injured. The attack is claimed by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).