Turkey's Erdogan blames IS for wedding attack in Gaziantep that killed 50 - Firstpost
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Turkey's Erdogan blames IS for wedding attack in Gaziantep that killed 50

Istanbul: Turkey's president on Sunday blamed the Islamic State group for the bombing of an outdoor wedding party in the southeast that killed 50 people and wounded dozens of others.

Officials say Saturday's attack in Gaziantep, near Syria's border, appeared to be a suicide bombing.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement early Sunday saying that IS was "the most likely perpetrator of the Gaziantep attack".

The initial death toll was 30 killed and 94 wounded. Later, the Gaziantep governor's office raised the toll to 50, without giving a number of wounded, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

People gather after an explosion in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, early Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. Gaziantep Province Gov. Ali Yerlikaya said the deadly blast, during a wedding near the border with Syria, was a terror attack. (Eyyup Burun/DHA via AP)e

People gather after an explosion in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. AP.

Turkey has been rocked by a wave of attacks in the past year that have either been claimed by Kurdish militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party — known by its acronym PKK — or were blamed on IS. In June, suspected IS militants attacked Istanbul's main airport with guns and bombs, killing 44 people.

The attack comes as the country is still reeling from last month's failed coup attempt, which the government has blamed on US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers. Gulen denies any involvement.

Erdogan said there was "absolutely no difference" between IS, Kurdish rebels and Gulen's movement, calling them terrorist groups.

Earlier this week, a string of bombings blamed on the PKK that targeted police and soldiers killed at least a dozen people. A fragile, two-and-a-half year-long peace process between the PKK and the government collapsed last year, leading to a resumption of the three-decade-long conflict.

In Gaziantep, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and the country's health minister visited the wounded and inspected the site of the attack.

"This is a massacre of unprecedented cruelty and barbarism," he told reporters. "We ... are united against all terror organizations. They will not yield."

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim condemned the bombing, which he said turned "a wedding party into a place of mourning" and he vowed to prevail over the "devilish" attacks.

Police sealed off the site of the explosion and forensic teams moved in. Hundreds of residents gathered near the site chanting "Allah is great" as well as slogans denouncing attacks.

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