Blast strikes near ruling AK party’s HQ in Turkey’s Van

At least 48 people wounded as large explosion hits near AK party headquarters in southern city, officials say.

Turkey Van bombing explosion
Security officials accused Kurdish fighters of being behind the bombing in Van [Reuters]

At least 48 people were wounded in a bomb attack near the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party headquarters in the Turkish city of Van, officials said.

The blast on Monday morning took place between the AK party’s offices and those of the governor, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Besir Atalay, a deputy chairman of the AK party, blamed the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ party (PKK) for the attack, which initially appeared to have been caused by a car bomb.

“Through these attacks, they are getting more and more hatred in the [southeastern] region,” he told Turkey’s CNNTurk television.

The governor’s office said two policemen were among the wounded. One civilian was said to be in critical condition.

Television images showed water cannon being used to put out a fire caused by the explosion.

Witnesses said the force of the blast shattered windows in the surrounding vicinity. Several ambulances were called to the scene.

READ MORE: Turkey removes 24 mayors over ‘PKK links’

The blast came a day after the government announced the removal of 28 mayors , mainly over alleged links to the PKK in a move strongly denounced by pro-Kurdish parties.

The PKK is listed a terror group by Turkey and its western allies.

The government has stepped up its military campaign in the restive southeast to eradicate PKK fighters, who have launched almost daily attacks since the rupture of a fragile ceasefire last year.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984, with the aim of carving out an independent state for Turkey’s Kurdish minority.

Turkey has also launched an operation inside Syria to remove the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group as well as Syrian Kurdish armed groups from its frontier.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies