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Turkey Detains Fifteen Suspects over Suicide Bomb in Turkey | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A woman gives first aid to a injured woman as broken pieces of glass are seen following a bombing, in Bursa, northwestern Turkey, on April 27, 2016./ AFP

Turkish authorities said on Thursday they detained 15 people over a suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Bursa where a woman injured eight bystanders as she blew herself up on Wednesday near the city’s main mosque, Turkish media said on Thursday.

The bombing on Wednesday took place near Bursa’s 14th century Grand Mosque, a historic symbol of the city that was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.

“A woman packed with a (bombing) mechanism believed to be a suicide bomber blew herself up,” said a statement from the local governor’s office.

Security sources confirmed that the blast was a “suicide attack”, while Turkish media identified the bomber as a 25-year-old woman.

A dozen people were injured and many had light injuries such as cuts from shattered windows.

The attack was the fifth suicide bombing in a major urban center in Turkey this year.

The TRT and CNN Turk television stations quoted Interior Minister Efkan Ala as giving the total and saying evidence pointed to a link with a militant group, but gave no details.

“Fifteen people have been detained in connection with the Bursa attack. There are strong indications that it is related to a group,” the broadcasters quoted Ala as saying.

Some of those detained were brought in from outside of Bursa and were being interrogated at the provincial police headquarters, CNN Turk said.

Bursa is Turkey’s fourth-largest city and an industrial hub directly south of Istanbul across the Marmara Sea. It’s not a major tourist destination, but it attracts some foreign visitors with its Ottoman-era architecture.

Police cordoned off the site of the blast, and passersby were ushered away as ambulances and forensics teams arrived.

The mosque is located in a busy neighborhood, on a street dotted by jewelry shops. The explosion came shortly after a funeral and afternoon prayers, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

No group has claimed responsibility. Two attacks this year in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, have been blamed on the ultra-radical ISIS movement. Two in the capital Ankara were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.

Turkey has also faced attacks from far-left groups, mostly targeting police and security forces. The Bursa attack came a day after the United States warned American citizens in Turkey about credible terrorist threats to tourist areas.

“The US government continues to receive credible indications that terrorist groups are seeking opportunities to attack popular tourist destinations throughout Turkey,” the embassy said on its website.

“The US embassy reminds US citizens that foreign tourists in Turkey have been explicitly targeted by terrorist organizations, and advises US citizens to be mindful of the potential for danger in crowded public areas and at popular tourist destinations.”