PKK suicide team TAK claims Istanbul blast that killed 44

Published 11.12.2016 00:00
Updated 15.12.2016 12:40
Police forensic experts examine the scene after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, early December 11, 2016. REUTERS Photo
Police forensic experts examine the scene after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, early December 11, 2016. (REUTERS Photo)

Terrorist group PKK's suicide team, known as the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), assumed responsibility Sunday for the terrorist bomb attacks that killed 44 people and injured 155 Saturday night in Istanbul's Beşiktaş district.

The statement released by the terror group said that nobody in Turkey should expect to lead a peaceful life as long as these situations persist and Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned PKK leader, remains behind bars.

Intelligence sources said on Sunday that one of the suspected suicide bombers of the deadly attack entered Turkey from the PYD-controlled area in Syria.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), which is the military wing of the PYD, had previously threatened Turkey with terror attacks with a video released in February this year where the group declared war on Turkey.

Both the PYD and the YPG are the offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization operating in Syria. The militants often receive training in Syria in YPG positions and travel to Turkey to carry out attacks for TAK or PKK, both groups share organic ties with the PYD/YPG.

TAK said that two of their members died in the attacks, but they did not specify if they were suicide attackers, adding that they will release the information of the attackers in upcoming days.

Istanbul was rocked by twin blasts late Saturday, which killed 44 people and injured 155 others, 14 of whom are in critical condition. Officials have noted that initial findings suggest the brutal attack was carried out by the PKK terrorist organization.

The group has previously claimed various attacks on civilians that took place in recent periods.

On Feb. 17, TAK assumed responsibility for the car bomb attack that killed 29 people, mainly military personnel, in central Ankara during evening rush hour. Again in Ankara, 37 civilians were killed when a car bomb was driven into civilians at a busy bus stop and detonated on March 13.

On June 10, a TAK-claimed car bomb detonated while a riot police shuttle bus was passing in Istanbul's Fatih district, killing 12 people, including five civilians, while injuring dozens of others.

At least 13 people were injured when a suicide bomber detonated himself near the historic Ulu (Grand) Mosque in the northwestern city of Bursa on April 27.

TAK also claimed the mortar attack on Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport on Dec. 23, 2015, that left an airport cleaner dead and injured another, while damaging five aircraft.

Other attacks targeting civilians by the PKK-affiliate TAK:

Five people were killed, two of them tourists, and 20 people were injured when a bomb exploded in Kuşadası, a coastal resort town in western Turkey on July 10, 2005.

The Justice and Development (AK) Party's representation office in Istanbul was attacked on April 5, 2006.

Two people were killed in a hotel attack in the southwestern Marmaris district on April 28, 2006.

Four people were killed and many were injured in an attack in Antalya on Aug. 28, 2006.

Four soldiers and one civilian were killed when a military bus was blown up in Istanbul's Halkalı district on June 22, 2010.

Thirty-two people were injured in an attack in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Oct. 31, 2010.

A bomb attack killed three people and injured 34 in Ankara's Kızılay Square on Sept. 20, 2011.

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