Turkey on Monday held four suspects over a suicide car bombing that killed at least 36 people in Ankara, as warplanes pounded Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq over the attack, the capital’s third in five months.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest carnage, which reduced cars and buses to charred husks on a busy road in the heart of the city on Sunday evening, wounding more than 120 people.
But Ankara believes one of the bombers was a woman with ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Turkish official told AFP on Monday.
Turkish police detained four people near the Syrian frontier on Monday, state-run Anatolia news agency reported, acting on a tip-off that the car used in the bombing had been bought in Sanliurfa, a Kurdish-dominated town some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the border.
Dogan news agency for its part said six people had been arrested.
The fact that extremists were able to strike again in the heart of the capital, so close to many sensitive buildings and so soon after February’s attack will raise questions about Turkey’s ability to deal with the twin threat of Kurdish rebels and the Islamic State (IS) group.
Hours after the attack, Turkish fighter bombers hit PKK arms depots and shelters in mountainous northern Iraq, the army said, quoted by Anatolia.
Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu on Monday gave a new toll of 37 from Sunday’s blast targeting a bus stop, but said this included at least one attacker and possibly two. The first funerals for the victims were held on Monday.
The military said the PKK targets were hit “with precision”, with a rebel spokesman confirming the strikes.