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Explosions at Ankara Peace Rally Leave 86 Dead

More than 80 civilians have been killed and a further 186 injured by two explosions at a peace rally in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

TV Video footage of the moment one of the bombs went off shows chaos and panic, with blood-strewn people lying on the floor and people trying desperately to help them.

The blasts took place close to the central train station in the city, and the death toll is expected to rise, as reports come out of the explosions rocking several high-rise buildings, at a distance from the scene.

It is still not clear who is responsible for the attacks, although suspicion fell upon ISIS and Kurdish separatist groups. Social media has shown images of the bodies of victims lying on the ground, covered by HDP flags.

The rally was attended by various groups, mainly Kurds and Leftists, who were marching on an end to violence between the Turkish state and separatist Kurdish militant group the PKK. The armed conflict between the two has been going on for almost three decades, but tensions had seemed to dissipate in recent years, before the ceasefire between the two broke down and violence resumed in July.

A statement from the HDP Party, a pro-Kurdish group, said that it believes that its members, who were attending the rally, were the targets of the attack.

The PKK later called all of its fighters to stand down and cease all guerilla activity unless targeted themselves.

The Turkish government is now investigating the possibility that at least one of the explosions was a suicide bomber, and whilst it has been reported that the attacks could have been a result of grenades being fired, locals have dismissed this, reporting that the blasts could be heard up to several kilometres away.

The attack is the biggest and deadliest in recent history to take place in Turkey, and comes less than a month before the national elections are due to take place in the country, on 1 November.

The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “loathsome attack that targeted our unity and our togetherness”, and later issued a short statement on the presidency’s website saying “I strongly condemn this heinous attack on our unity and our country’s peace.”

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