Car-bomb blast near Turkish high school

A CAR-BOMB went off near a high school in the Turkish capital last night, igniting other vehicles and killing three people in a nearby building.

The 11.30am (6.30pm AEST) blast, which the Ankara prosecutor’s office said was a terrorist attack, also wounded 15 people.

“The explosion occurred in a place where car and people traffic is intense. It looks like the intention was to inflict as much harm to people as possible,” Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said.

The parked car had been bought a week ago but had not been registered. Police detained a woman at the scene who shouted “Long live our struggle!” as she was escorted away by police, a Dogan news agency video showed.

Kurdish rebels fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey have recently escalated their attacks on Turkish targets. Islamist and leftist militants have also carried out some bombings.

Kurdish rebels were blamed for a bomb attack in the Mediterranean resort town of Kemer that wounded 10 people, including four Swedes on August 28.

Turkish warplanes bombed suspected rebel hideouts in northern Iraq last month in response to the escalation of attacks by the guerillas. More than 100 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have been killed in the raid.

Speaking to Turkish daily Hurriyet last week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said those were matters not to be discussed but to be acted upon. Turkey’s government has been considering a series of measures in the face of the upsurge in attacks, including a request to parliament to extend its authorisation for cross-border military operations for one more year after it expires next month.

The bodies of three people were found in a building near the car that exploded in downtown Ankara, Mr Sahin said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said police had information that a bomb was planted on the car, although other officials quoted a witness as saying a burning gas canister had been tossed on to the vehicle.

The explosion sparked a series of blasts in nearby vehicles.

Reyhan Altintas, a neighbourhood administrator, said she rushed outside after hearing a loud blast.

It was followed by three other blasts, apparently caused by the cars catching fire.

At least five of the 15 wounded people were in a serious condition, Mr Sahin said. “I had never heard anything like it in my life,” witness Adnan Yavuz said of the initial blast.

“Then came another explosion and parts of a car dropped from the tree.”

The wounded were initially treated in the schoolyard before medics took them to hospital, NTV television said.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed 45,000 lives.

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