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Turkey backtracks on child bomber claim

Published : Aug 24, 2016, 6:47 am IST
Updated : Aug 24, 2016, 6:47 am IST

Ankara says ‘no clue’ who was behind wedding attack.

Women kneel by a grave at a cemetery during the funeral for the victims of the attack on a wedding party that left 50 dead. -AFP
 Women kneel by a grave at a cemetery during the funeral for the victims of the attack on a wedding party that left 50 dead. -AFP

Ankara says ‘no clue’ who was behind wedding attack.

Turkey on Tuesday went back on claims that a child bomber linked to Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists carried out a deadly suicide bombing close to Syria, saying it had no clue who was behind the attack.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara could not confirm who was the perpetrator of the attack on a Kurdish wedding in the city of Gaziantep which left 54 dead, apparently contradicting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who had said it was a child bomber acting on ISIS orders.

“We do not have a clue about who the perpetrators behind the attack were. Early information on who did the attack, in what organisation's name, is unfortunately not right,” Mr Yildirim told reporters in Ankara.

His comments were in stark contrast with those by Mr Erdogan who said on Sunday that the bomber was a child aged between 12-14 acting on orders of ISIS jihadists.

Mr Yildirim described as “rumours” whether the attack was conducted by a child or an adult, while insisting security agencies would continue their work to find out who was responsible.

“Those who were behind the attack will be revealed, there is no doubt about this.” The Hurriyet daily said DNA tests were under way to ascertain the bomber’s identity, nationality and gender. ISIS retaliation Security forces believed jihadists had timed the attack as retaliation for offensives both by Kurdish militias and pro-Ankara Syrian opposition forces against ISIS in Syria, according to earlier Turkish press reports.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hundreds of rebel fighters were preparing inside Turkish territory to launch an offensive on the ISIS-held Syrian town of Jarablus.

Without explicitly confirming the rebel offensive, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey backed anyone fighting against ISIS and would itself fight the group “to the end”.

“Our border must be completely cleansed from Daesh,” he had said earlier in televised remarks, using an Arabic acronym for the ISIS group.

Location: Turkey, Ankara