UPDATE 2-Eight Killed in Blast at Wedding in Southeast Turkey-state Media

Saturday, 20 August 2016 05:55 PM

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ISTANBUL, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Eight people were killed and 60 were wounded on Saturday in an attack on a wedding party in southern Turkey that a deputy prime minister said appeared to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

Ambulances raced to the scene of the attack in the Sahinbey district of the city of Gaziantep and police sealed off the area.

A parliamentary deputy from the ruling AK Party said in a twitter message that Islamic State militants were believed to be behind the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

NATO member Turkey has suffered a string of attacks this year by Islamic State fighters, who pass relatively easily across the border from neighbouring Syria, and by Kurdish militants seeking autonomy or independence.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said Saturday's attack was probably carried out by a suicide bomber.

Last month, the country was shaken by an attempted coup by rogue elements of the military. Thousands have since been arrested or sacked in the military, police, civil service, judiciary and academia in a crackdown on what President Tayyip Erdogan calls a vast terrorist conspiracy.

Over 200 people were killed and the failed putsch that Erdogan says was engineered by a former ally, exiled islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Bombings have torn at the fabric of Turkey which is seen by Western allies as an important ally and buffer against instability in Syria and Iraq.

Three suspected Islamic State suicide bombers killed 44 people at Istanbul's main airport in July, the deadliest in a string of attacks in Turkey this year. Almost 40 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Ankara in March that was claimed by a Kurdish group.

(Reporting by David Dolan; editing by Ralph Boulton; editing by John Stonestreet)

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Saturday, 20 August 2016 05:55 PM
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