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Kurdish Group Claims It Is Behind Blast That Killed 37 In Turkey's Capital

This is the third major explosion in Ankara since October.

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A Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for the large explosion on Sunday in Ankara capital, that killed at least 37 and wounded 125 people, according to a statement on the group’s website.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed the "vengeful action" was in response to government security operations in the mainly Kurdish southeast, underway since July.

In their statement, the group, an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), named one of the bombers as 24-year-old Seher Demir.

Demir's involvement in the explosion was also confirmed by a written statement from the Turkish interior ministry, CNN reported.

Turkey's Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 19 of those wounded were in serious condition. He added that 30 of the fatalities were killed at the scene of the explosion, while the other four died later at nearby hospitals.

The explosion was caused by a powerful car bomb and targeted civilians at a bus stop, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in a statement Sunday.

As of Monday evening authorities had detained 11 people in connection with the bombing, Turkey's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

According to the Associated Press, he said earlier this week it is believed that the attacks were carried out by Kurdish rebels and that DNA tests were underway to identify the two bombers.

The blast took place in the center of the city in an area with a number of bus stops and it caused numerous surrounding vehicles to catch fire. At least one passenger bus was affected by the blast.

Authorities have obtained evidence regarding the perpetrators of the attack, he said, but will not release information about those responsible until the investigation is closed.

He added that the deadly attack would not deter Turkey from its battle against terrorism.

The area was quickly evacuated in case of a second explosion while ambulances arrived at the scene, Hurriyet News reported.

Turkish military planes also carried out airstrikes against Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq just hours after the deadly bombing, according to Anadolu.

Police also detained several suspected Kurdish militants in a southern city in Turkey Monday, the Associated Press reported.

This is the second large explosion to take place in the capital within a month.

In mid-February, a car bomb targeting military shuttles exploded in Ankara, killing 28 people and injuring 81. The attack was later reportedly claimed by TAK.

Turkey blamed Syrian Kurdish groups for the attack and called it an act of terror.

In October, an explosion killed 103 people at a peace rally near the Ankara railway station. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turkey's pro-Kurdish party, The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), condemned Sunday's attacks, saying it experienced "the huge pain felt along with our citizens."

The statement was notable because HDP is frequently accused of being a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)), which it vehemently denies.

The party has also been accused in the past of not speaking out against violence attributed to the PKK.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

As Facebook turned on its "safety check," option for those in Ankara, Turkish courts reportedly ordered bans on access Facebook and Twitter following the attack.

In 2015 Turkey blocked access to Twitter when photographs of a prosecutor being held at gunpoint by far-left militants were being shared internationally.

#Ankara At least 15 people killed according to the reports

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Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Ema O'Connor at ema.oconnor@buzzfeed.com.

Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alicia Melville-Smith at alicia.melville-smith@buzzfeed.com.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at .

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