Turkey strikes suspected Kurdish rebel targets in Iraq after government building 'terrorist attack'

Turkish security forces cordon off an area after an explosion in Ankara, Sunday 1 October Credit: PA

The Turkish defense ministry says its warplanes hit suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Sunday following a "terrorist" attack on a government building.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the heart of the Turkish capital, Ankara, hours before parliament was scheduled to reopen after a three-month summer recess.

A second assailant was killed in a shootout with police, the interior minister said.

An news agency close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK said the group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

In response, the Turkish government said some 20 targets of the PKK, were “destroyed” in an aerial operation, including caves, shelters and depots.

The country's interior minister described this morning's incident as a "terrorist attack".

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya talks to journalists in Ankara on Sunday. Credit: AP

The bombing occurred as parliament was set to re-open with an address by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan gave his speech as planned and called the attack “the last stand of terrorism.”

“The scoundrels who targeted the peace and security of the citizens could not achieve their goals and they never will," he said.

Erdogan reiterated his government's aim to create a 20 mile safe zone along Turkey's border with Syria to secure its southern border from attacks.

Turkish security forces cordon off an area after an explosion in Ankara, Sunday 1 October Credit: PA

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said the assailants arrived at the scene inside a light commercial vehicle. Television footage showed bomb squads working near a parked vehicle in the area which is located near the Turkish Grand National Assembly and other government buildings. A rocket launcher could be seen lying near the vehicle.

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said an investigation has been launched into the “terror attack.” “These attacks will in no way hinder Turkey's fight against terrorism,” he wrote on X. “Our fight against terrorism will continue with more determination.”

Police shut off the city centre and increased security measures, warning citizens that they would be conducting controlled explosions of suspicious packages.

Two police officers were slightly injured during the attack near an entrance to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. The two police officers were being treated in a hospital and were not in serious condition, media reports said.

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