The explosion gutted several parked cars before it was put out by fire fighters [Reuters]

At least three people have been killed and 15 others wounded in an explosion in the Turkish capital, Ankara, officials have said.

"Three citizens were killed and 15 were injured, five of whom are in critical condition," Idris Naim Sahin, the interior minister, said in televised remarks.

Tuesday's blast occurred in the Kizilay district of downtown Ankara, and Bulent Arinc, the country's deputy prime minister, blamed it on a bomb planted on a vehicle.

Bulent Tanik, a local mayor, said an eyewitness told him someone threw a burning gas canister onto the vehicles from a nearby building.

"The investigation is under way," Tanik said. "If true, that canister might have triggered the blast of a liquefied petroleum gas tank on a vehicle."

Cars set ablaze

The blast occurred across a school but no student was harmed, Tanik said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Kurdish, leftist and Islamic fighters have carried out bomb attacks in Turkey in the past.

The explosion set several vehicles on fire before it was extinguished by firefighters.

One of the vehicles was totally burnt down and four others were also damaged, television images showed.

Source: Agencies