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Blaming Kurdish militants, Turkey rounds-up 26 after deadly car bomb blast

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities are placing the blame on the Kurdistan Workers Party for the explosion. PKK separatist movement has left more than 40,000 dead.

Turkish police on Saturday placed blame for a powerful car bomb explosion that left two people dead and more than a dozen injured on Kurdish militants and detained 26 people in connection with the blast.

An explosives-laden SUV rocked a housing complex for judges and prosecutors on Friday in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, close to the Syrian border. 

"A total of 26 people had been detained and our security forces are conducting the necessary work," Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told journalists Saturday morning.

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Turbulent times in Turkey

A young boy, reportedly 10 or 11-years-old was also killed in the blast, and a guard was shot dead when he approached the bomb-laden vehicle.

"The vehicle had been detonated just as a security guard who saw it being parked was about to intervene," Soylu said.

At least 17 people were injured, with 11 being treated in hospital, Soylu said, including two in intensive care.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, but the local governor, Gungor Azim Tuna, was quoted in the state-run Anadolu Agency news service blaming the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Kurdish separatist movement

The PKK wants an independent Kurdish state and launched a violent separatist movement to achieve that goal in 1984. The conflict has killed some 40,000. More than 550 people have been killed since the summer of 2015.

Images from the latest scene showed severe damage to the housing complex, with windows entirely shattered and balconies destroyed. Turkish flags were hung on the side of the buildings. Dozens of cars parked inside the housing complex were essentially destroyed.

But the PKK isn't the only group engaged in violent conflict against the Turkish government. "Islamic State" (IS) militants have also launched a series of violent attacks in the country over the past two years.

IS fighters launched a deadly New Year's attack on an Istanbul nightclub, with a gunman killing 39 people, most of them foreigners. IS claimed responsibility for the attack, and a few days later the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a splinter group of the PKK, claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two people in the Aegean port city of Izmir.

Friday's attack came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan kicked off his campaign for a "yes" vote at the April 16 referendum on expanding his powers in the province of Kahramanmaras, close to Sanliurfa.

bik/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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