Toll Hits 97 in Turkish Peace Rally Blasts
At least 400 hurt in Ankara double bombing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 10, 2015 5:34 AM CDT
Updated Oct 10, 2015 1:54 PM CDT
Bodies of victims are covered with flags and banners as police officers secure the area after an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015.    (Burhan Ozbilici)
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(Newser) – Two bomb explosions targeting a peace rally by leftist and Kurdish activists in Turkey's capital on Saturday killed at least 97 people and wounded more than 400 others, according to the Turkish Medical Association as cited by CNN. The explosions occurred minutes apart near Ankara's main train station as people were gathering for the rally, organized by the country's public sector workers' trade union and other civic society groups. The rally aimed to call for an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. It was not clear if the attacks, which came weeks before Turkey's Nov. 1 elections, were suicide bombings. "There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara," says the head of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions. "Two bombs exploded in very short intervals."

Television footage from Turkey's Dogan news agency showed a line of protesters fanned out on the street near the train station, chanting and performing a traditional dance with their hands locked, when a large explosion hit behind them. An Interior Ministry statement condemned the attack, which it said "targets Turkey's democracy and peace." Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called an emergency security meeting to discuss the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. In July, a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS killed 33 people in a town near Turkey's border with Syria, and a leftist militant group has also carried out suicide bombings in Turkey.