The death toll from a suspected suicide bombing at a wedding in the south east of Turkey has risen to 51 people, according to the Turkish President Erdogan. He said the suicide bomber was a 12-14-year-old child.
President Erdogan confirmed in a statement to the public broadcaster NTV that 51 people had died in the bombing, while 69 injured people are being treated at hospitals around the province, Reuters reports.
Saturday’s wedding party was for a member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, and the groom was among those injured. The bride was not hurt, one local official said.
Celebrations were ending at the traditional henna night party, when guests have decorative paint applied to their hands and feet. Some families had already left when the bomb went off but women and children were among the dead, witnesses said.
President Tayyip Erdogan (who is also bombing the Kurds) said on Sunday Islamic State was likely behind it. Turkey faces multiple security threats from militants at home and from Syria.
“Initial evidence suggests it was a Daesh attack,” Erdogan said, using an Arabic name for the hardline Sunni group, during a visit to Gaziantep after the attack. He said 69 people were in hospital and 17 were “heavily injured”.
Islamic State has been blamed for other attacks in Turkey, often targeting Kurdish gatherings in an effort to inflame ethnic tensions. The deadliest one was last October, when suicide bombers killed more than 100 people at a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists in Ankara.