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Kurdish PKK separatists deny role in Istanbul suicide attack

A day after a suicide attack injuring 32 in Istanbul, the separatist Kurdistan's Worker Party (PKK) leadership rejected suggestions that it was involved and extended a unilateral ceasefire that began in August.

Kurdish demonstrators are silhouetted by a Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) flag during a protest

The PKK has extended its unilateral ceasefire

Turkey's main Kurdish nationalist group released a statement on Monday saying it was not responsible for the previous day's suicide attack in Istanbul, which injured 32 people. The Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) also announced an extension of its unilateral ceasefire which began on August 13 and expired on Sunday.

"It is not possible for us to carry out such an action at a time when our movement has decided to extend a truce process," the PKK statement said, according to the Firat news agency which is close to the group. "We are in no way involved in this attack."

The PKK said the ceasefire would last at least until Turkey's next general elections, expected to be held in June 2011.

Investigation continues

The suicide bomber blew himself up as he tried to force himself onto a police bus in the busy Taksim Square in central Istanbul. The blast injured 15 police officers and 17 civilians. Officials said that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Police forensic officers inspect the scene

Officials say they do have clues to who is behind the attack

Initial speculation has focused on the outlawed PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the US. Turkish officials, however, said they were still investigating and that no definite conclusion had been made on who was responsible for the attack.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay said no one has been detained yet in connection with the bombing, but that officials did have information on who may have carried out the attack.

"We have findings," he told reporters, "but we will make a statement once we are sure."

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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