2 bombers blow themselves up after police stop in Turkey

Suzan Fraser - Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey (UPDATED 3:18 p.m.) — Two suicide bombers blew themselves up after refusing to surrender to police during an operation in the outskirts of the capital Ankara Saturday, a senior official said. No one else was killed or hurt.

Governor Erkan Topaca said police, acting on a tip, launched an operation to catch a man and a woman who were suspected of planning a suicide car bombing in Ankara. They were hiding inside a hut at a horse farm in the district of Haymana, just outside of the capital.

"Police called on them to surrender. They did not respond in a positive way. They blew themselves up before we could intervene," Topaca told reporters at the scene.

Topaca said it was "highly likely" that the one of them was linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has carried out a series of suicide car bombings over the past year.

"The organization they are connected to is not clear yet but according to information we have received, it is highly likely that (the man) is linked to the PKK. The way the incident was carried out and planned points at the PKK," he said.

Topaca said the pair would have carried out a suicide car bomb attack although their target was not known. The assailants had hung a Turkish flag on their car, in an apparent attempt to disguise themselves, he said.

Turkey has been rocked by a wave of bomb attacks since last summer that have killed hundreds of people and been blamed on either the PKK or the Islamic State group.

Fighting between the PKK and the state security forces resumed last year after the collapse of a fragile 2 ½-year cease-fire. Since then, more than 600 Turkish security personnel and thousands of PKK militants have been killed in clashes, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. Rights groups say hundreds of civilians have also been killed in the clashes.

The deadliest attack took place in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, killing 103 people attending a peace rally — including many Kurdish activists. Authorities blamed that attack on the Islamic State group.

On Thursday, 10 people were slightly wounded by a bomb mounted on a motorcycle which exploded near a police station in Istanbul. Six people have been detained in connection with the attack, which authorities blamed on the PKK.

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