Q&A: The two terror attacks in Turkey and Ivory Coast

Damaged vehicles at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a car bomb that went off close to bus stops. Photo / AP
Damaged vehicles at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a car bomb that went off close to bus stops. Photo / AP

Turkey

Q: What has occurred?

A suicide car bomb attack targeted civilians near bus stops in the heart of Ankara, Turkey, killing at least 34 people, including two suspected bombers. Around 125 other people were wounded, 19 of them in serious condition. The explosion was in the capital's transit hub in Kizilay close to Guven park. Live images from the scene showed burnt-out vehicles as ambulances rushed to the scene. Footage later appeared online showing the moment of the attack with people running away and sparks flying.

Q: Who is being blamed?

A senior government official told AP and Reuters that police suspect Kurdish PKK militants carried out the attack, based on "initial indications". The official says one of the bombers was a woman. Turkey's pro-Kurdish party has issued a statement condemning the attack.

The Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP, said it shares "the huge pain felt along with our citizens". No one has claimed the attack, although Kurdish militants and Isis (Islamic State) have carried out bombings in the city recently. The statement was significant because the party is frequently accused of being the political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK - an accusation it denies. It has also been accused of not speaking out against PKK violence.

Q: How has the Government reacted?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to bring "terrorism to its knees". Erdogan also said Turkey would use its right to self-defence to prevent future attacks and called for national unity. Erdogan said: "our people should not worry, the struggle against terrorism will for certain end in success and terrorism will be brought to its knees."

Q: What has been happening?

Just weeks ago an attack on a military convoy killed 29, raising fears that violence in the country's south east will lead to further chaos. The country has been hit by a spate of deadly bombings including its worst attack in the capital late last year during which 103 people were killed after a twin suicide bombing by Isis-linked terrorists during a peace rally in the capital. Organisers and activists were calling for an end to fighting between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants after the collapse of the ceasefire earlier in the year. Last month's attack killed dozens of military personnel and was initially blamed by Turkish authorities on Syrian Kurdish militants linked to homegrown Kurdish guerrilla fighters. But later, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (Tak), formerly linked to PKK, claimed the attack in response to security operations in the south-east.

Ivory Coast

Q: What has occurred?

At least 14 civilians, two special forces and six assailants were killed when armed men attacked beachgoers and three hotels. Beachgoers were filmed screaming and running into nearby hotels for cover as up to four gunmen sprayed bullets indiscriminately while shouting "Allahu Akbar". Witnesses described the attackers as African, armed with Kalashnikovs and grenade belts and dressed in casual clothes who shot at "anyone they could find" as they "calmly" walked along the packed beachfront of Grand Bassam, 40km east of the capital Abidjan at midday local time. Local media cited a hotel employee named JB Beugré as saying that the gunmen arrived by fishing boat and their attack lasted three hours.

Q: Who is being blamed?

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack on the Telegram app. The latest attack also bore similarities to an attack by Isis (Islamic State) in June 2015 on the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse, which claimed 38 lives of mainly British tourists.

Q: What has been happening?

The attack is the third on West African establishments popular with Westerners since November. In November, the Radisson Blu in Mali's capital Bamako was targeted in an attack which left 20 dead, then in January gunmen entered the Hotel Splendid and nearby Cappuccino Cafe in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, killing 30. Responsibility for those incidents was also claimed by AQIM which vowed to carry out more attacks.

Q: Why is Ivory Coast being targeted?

Cocoa-producing Ivory Coast, a former French colony with a large French community still, is one of the world's fastest-growing economies following a turbulent few months during an electoral standoff in 2010. Analysts have been warning for some time that its relative wealth in the region, popularity as a hub for Western agencies and relatively lax security could make it a target for jihadists based in Mali, along with Senegal. Lemine Ould M. Salem, an expert on AQIM and author of a book The Bin Laden of the Sahara, said: "I have always said that Abidjan and Dakar (the capital of Senegal) are the next targets for jihadist groups because these two countries represent windows of France in Africa."

- Telegraph Group Ltd, AP

- Daily Telegraph UK

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