28 MART 2017

The suicide bomber who blew himself up on Istanbul's main square, wounding 32 people, came from Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast and belonged to a separatist group, the Istanbul governor said on Tuesday.

The bomber was identified as Vedat Acar, the governor's office said in a statement. Acar was born in 1986 in Van province near the Iranian border, the statement said.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the attack on Sunday in central Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city and its financial centre, the state Anatolian news agency also said.

The attack was on a police point in Taksim Square and wounded 15 policemen and 17 civilians.

The statement did not explicitly say to which organization Acar belonged, but described it as a "separatist terrorist organization", a term often used by Turkish officials to describe the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). "It has been established that Acar joined the separatist terrorist organization in 2004.”

A photograph of the dead bomber was handed out by police on Monday.

The PKK on Monday denied any link with the bombing in Istanbul. It declared it was extending a 2-1/2 month ceasefire on Monday until a general election expected in June 2011.

No organization has claimed responsibility. Istanbul has been targeted in the past by Kurdish militants and al Qaeda, as well as far-left radicals.

Some observers have said that groups connected with the PKK may have been behind the attack, although the PKK leadership, based in northern Iraq, denies the movement is splintering and said none of its units were involved.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) is one group close to the PKK that has claimed responsibility for attacks in urban centers in the past, including the bombing of a military bus in Istanbul in June that killed five people.


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