Turkey's president says a young boy — believed to be around 12 or 14 years old — carried out a suicide bombing for the Islamic State that killed at least 51 people at a Kurdish wedding party near the Syrian border in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the young bomber attacked the wedding party Saturday night as the guests danced in the street. At least 69 people were injured.
The Islamic State has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but the militant group is known to have a presence in the city where the blast occurred. Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) also blamed the Islamic State for the attack, the Associated Press reported.
"We condemn and curse the ones who launched this attack, both the forces and ideology behind their actions." The HDP noted that the attack came just hours after a different Kurdish party announced plans to negotiate an end to the three-decade conflict between Kurds and the Turkish government.
Video footage posted online showed the chaotic aftermath of the bombing, with large crowds gathered in the street.
Footage from the attack scene in Gaziantep pic.twitter.com/FCkcVGSN3C
— Rag?p Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 20, 2016
US ambassador John Bass called the bombing a "barbaric attack."
"We stand by our ally Turkey and pledge to continue to work closely together to defeat the common threat of terrorism," Bass said in a statement.
In a written statement published in Turkish by local media, Erdogan likened Islamic State militants to Kurdish fighters for the PKK group and supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the president blames for last month's coup attempt. "There is no difference," Erdogan wrote. "Our message... is the same: You will not succeed."
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