ANKARA: At least 28 people were killed and 61 wounded on Wednesday (Feb 17) by a car bomb targeting the Turkish military in the heart of the capital Ankara, the latest in a string of attacks to shake the country.
The blast struck a convoy of military service vehicles but it was still not clear who carried it out, said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, confirming the latest toll.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed retaliation against the perpetrators of the attack, which came on the heels of a spate of deadly strikes in Turkey blamed on jihadists but also on Kurdish rebels.
The car bomb detonated when a convoy of military buses carrying dozens of soldiers stopped at traffic lights in central Ankara, creating scenes of panic and chaos.
"This attack has very clearly targeted our esteemed nation as a whole and was carried out in a vile, dishonourable, treacherous and insidious way," said Kurtulmus.
Plumes of smoke rose from the scene, close to the headquarters of the Turkish military and the parliament. The powerful blast was heard all over the city, sending residents to their balconies in panic, an AFP correspondent said.
"I saw a huge fireball growing," 25-year-old witness Gurkan, who said he was standing 500 metres (yards) from the scene, told AFP. "People started to run in all directions in panic as soon as we heard a strong explosion."
The army said the attack had targeted "service vehicles carrying army personnel".
Washington in a statement strongly condemned "the terrorist attack on Turkish military personnel and civilians" and reaffirmed US solidarity with the key NATO partner.