CORRECTED - Five dead in car bomb attack on military in Turkish capital | Reuters - Firstpost
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CORRECTED - Five dead in car bomb attack on military in Turkish capital | Reuters

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ANKARA (This story corrects Bozdag to justice minister, not deputy PM, in para 4)

At least five people were killed in the administrative heart of Turkey's capital Ankara on Wednesday when a vehicle laden with explosives detonated as military buses passed near the armed forces' headquarters, parliament and government buildings.

The Turkish military condemned what it described as a terrorist attack on the buses as they waited at traffic lights. The Ankara governor's office said at least five people had been killed and at least 10 injured.

Some Turkish media reports said 11 people had been killed.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Twitter the attack was an act of terrorism. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who had been due to leave for a trip to Brussels later on Wednesday, cancelled the trip, an official in his office said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

"I heard a huge explosion. There was smoke and a really strong smell even though we were blocks away," a Reuters witness said. "We could immediately hear ambulance and police car sirens rushing to the scene."

Turkish media reports said many people were injured. A health ministry official said the authorities were still trying to determine the number of dead and wounded, who had been taken to several hospitals in the area.

Images on social media showed the charred wreckage of at least two buses and a car. The explosion sent a large plume of smoke above central Ankara.

Turkey, a NATO member, faces multiple security threats. It is part of a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, and has been shelling Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria in recent days.

It has also been battling militants in its own southeast from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have fought a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy. The PKK has frequently attacked military targets in the past, although it has largely focused on the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Wednesday's bombing comes after an attack in Ankara in October blamed on Islamic State, when two suicide bombers struck a rally of pro-Kurdish and labour activists outside the capital's main train station, killing more than 100 people.

A suicide bombing in the historic heart of Istanbul in January, also blamed on Islamic State, killed 10 German tourists.

(Reporting by Turkey newsrooms in ANKARA and ISTANBUL; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Feb 18, 2016 01:31 IST

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