A deadly explosion Thursday targeted security forces in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish region, killing at least six people in the latest violence to hit the country amid a string of suicide blasts and other attacks, reports said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility following the explosion in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominately Kurdish southeastern region. But the area has been the scene of increasing clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish separatists, who have stepped up a decades-long fight for greater autonomy.
At least six people were killed and 23 were injured in the blast, which went off near a small bus carrying police special forces, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The Associated Press, citing security sources, said all the fatalities were among security personnel.
The blast came two days after the United States announced it would withdraw nearly all family members of U.S. troops and diplomats from its facilities in Turkey, citing security concerns linked to the U.S.-led battles against the Islamic State in neighboring Syria.
On March 13, a car bomb killed 37 people in the capital, Ankara, in an attack claimed by a breakaway Kurdish rebel faction. Less than a week later, a Turkish man with suspected ties to the Islamic State set off a suicide blast in Istanbul, killing four foreign tourists, including two Israeli Americans.
It was the sixth major suicide bombing in Turkey in eight months.
A shadowy Kurdish group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons has asserted responsibility for two major suicide attacks in Ankara this year, including the one this month.
The faction is thought to be an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has waged an insurgency in Turkey since the 1980s. The group is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States.
After the latest Ankara attack, Turkish warplanes waged airstrikes against Kurdish militant strongholds in northern Iraq, a staging ground for cross-border operations by the rebels.
In Washington, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met with Vice President Biden and other officials before attending a nuclear security summit.