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Ankara Car Bomb Kills At Least 37 People In Turkey's Capital

13/03/2016 21:01 | Updated 14 March 2016

At least 37 people have been killed and dozens more wounded after a car bomb exploded in Turkey's capital on Sunday, officials said. The explosion took place in Ankara's main boulevard, Ataturk Bulvari, close to main square, Kizilay.

It happened adjacent to bus stops near a park. Photos from the capital show several burnt out vehicles. The private NTV news channel said a car, believed to be laden with explosives, detonated close to a bus, the Associated Press reports.

The area is close to government offices, including ministries. Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 19 of the wounded were in serious condition. He said that 30 of the fatalities died at the scene, while the other four perished at hospitals. Two of the dead were believed to be the assailants, he added.

Dogan Asik, 28, said he was on a bus when the explosion occurred. "We were thrown further back into the bus from the force of the explosion," said Asik, who sustained injuries on his face and arm.

Turkish authorities said they had evidence pointing to who was behind the attack, but said that an announcement would not be made until the investigation was complete.

Police sealed off the area and pushed onlookers and journalists back, warning there could be a second bomb. Forensic teams were examining the scene.

Article continues below pictures:

  • ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images
    Police work at the site of a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.
  • Erhan Ortac via Getty Images
    Emergency workers respond at the scene of an explosion March 13, 2016 in in Ankara, Turkey.
  • Erhan Ortac via Getty Images
    An explosion ripped through a busy square in central Ankara on March 13, killing 25 people and wounding 75 more, with local media reports describing it as an attack.
  • EROL UCEM via Getty Images
    Paramedics gather at the site of a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.
  • EROL UCEM via Getty Images
    Firefighters, police and emergency services work at the site of a blast.
  • ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images
    Policemen stand guard the streets.
  • ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images
    Police stand behind a cordon at the site of a blast.
  • ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images
    Policemen set a security perimeter near the scene of a blast in Ankara.
  • Erhan Ortac via Getty Images
    Emergency workers respond at the scene of the explosion.
  • Erhan Ortac via Getty Images
    Onlookers and Emergency workers respond at the scene of an explosion March 13, 2016 in in Ankara, Turkey
  • EROL UCEM via Getty Images
    A photo taken on March 13, 2016 shows a damaged shop at the scene of a blast in Ankara.
  • EROL UCEM via Getty Images
    Forensic police and firefighters work at the scene of a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.
  • Defne Karadeniz via Getty Images
    The wreckage of a bus is seen after an explosion in Ankara's central Kizilay district on March 13, 2016 in Ankara, Turkey.
  • Defne Karadeniz via Getty Images
    The wreckage of a car is seen after an explosion in Ankara's central Kizilay district on March 13, 2016 in Ankara, Turkey.
  • EROL UCEM via Getty Images
    The wreckage of a bus is pictured at the scene of a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.
  • ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images
    Forensic services and firemen work around burnt out taxi vehicles after a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.
  • EROL UCEM via Getty Images
    Rescuers carry a victim on a stretcher at the scene of a blast in Ankara on March 13, 2016.
  • ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images
    This picture taken on March 13, 2016, shows a burnt out car after a blast in Ankara.

The bombing is the third in the city in five months and comes as Turkey is faced with an array of issues, including renewed fighting with the Kurdish rebels, threats from the Islamic State group and a Syrian refugee crisis.

It occurred just three weeks after a suicide car bombing in the capital targeted buses carrying military personnel, killing 29 people. A Kurdish militant group which is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, claimed responsibility for the attack on 17 Feb. The government, however, said that attack was carried out by a Syrian Kurdish militia group in concert with the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency.

Sunday's attack also came two days after the U.S. Embassy issued a security warning about a potential plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing in one Ankara neighborhood and asked its citizens to avoid those areas.

As with the previous bombings, Turkish authorities quickly imposed a ban Sunday preventing media organizations from broadcasting or publishing graphic images of the blast or from the scene.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Turkey in renewed fighting following the collapse of the peace process between the government and the PKK in July. Authorities on Sunday had declared curfews in two towns in the mainly Kurdish southeast region in anticipation of large-scale military operations against PKK-linked militants.

Turkey also has been struck by several bombings in the last year that were blamed on IS as the government joined efforts led by the U.S. to fight the extremist group in Syria. The deadliest came in October when a peace rally outside Ankara's main train station killed 102 people.

Senior officials told Reuters initial findings suggested the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group was responsible.

Turkey's president pledged that "terrorism will be brought to its knees" in the aftermath of the attack.

On Monday, Turkish war planes began bombarding Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq.

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