Two powerful bombs exploded at a peace rally near the main train station in Ankara on Saturday morning, killing at least 95 people and wounding 246 others in the deadliest attack in the Turkish capital in recent memory.
The number of casualties announced late Saturday by the prime minster’s officer was lower than the figures given earlier by the Turkish Medical Association. That agency said 97 people had died and more than 400 were wounded. The prime minster’s office said 48 victims were in intensive care.
The reason for the lower casualty figures wasn’t clear.
The explosions happened during a peace march involving, among others, the pro-Kurdish HDP, or People’s Democratic Party.
Most of the victims were attending a lunchtime demonstration calling for an end to the renewed conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government.
About 14,000 people were in the area. Two suicide bombers are believed to have caused the blasts, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised address to the nation.
“In total 97 people have been murdered, 68 of them died right after the blast, whereas 29 of them were severely wounded and sent to the hospitals, where they lost their lives,” said Dr.
Huseyin Demirdezen, a member of head council of Turkish Medical Association.
The attack came three weeks before national elections.
A video on social media shows a ring of young people dancing and singing before an orange blast erupts in the background. The video ends with the crowd running away from the blast.
Following the attack, for which no group has claimed responsibility, bodies lay in front of the station on Hipodrum Street and bystanders and paramedics tended to the wounded as a police helicopter circled overhead.
Video showed protest banners and flags littering the ground. Members of the public helped carry the victims to ambulances and buses to take them to hospitals.
The blasts were so powerful they shook high-rise office buildings. The death toll is expected to climb.