A teenage suspected Islamic State child suicide bomber killed at least 50 wedding guests dancing in a street in Turkey on Saturday. President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the massacre on Islamic State and said the killer, who wore an explosive belt, was about 12 to 14 years old.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke in a live nationally-televised address in front of Istanbul city Hall early Sunday morning, saying least 50 people were killed and dozens of others wounded in the attack which took place late Saturday evening in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.
The blast occurred in the Beybahce neighborhood of Gaziantep’s Sahinbey district about 10:50 p.m. Saturday, according to the Gaziantep governor’s office. Gaziantep is about 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo. The target was a crowded street in a Kurdish neighborhood where the Kurdish wedding party was taking place, according to Turkey-based journalist Andrew Finkel
Erdogan added that there was “absolutely no difference” between ISIS, Kurdish rebels and the movement behind the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, calling them terrorists.
He said 69 people were wounded, with 17 of them in critical condition.
According to a statement by the chief public prosecutor’s office, the remains of a suicide vest have been recovered at the site:
“We stand with the people of Turkey as they defend their democracy in the face of all forms of terrorism. We are in close touch with Turkish authorities,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price responded, calling the attack “barbaric.”