Turkey’s government said two terrorists carried out a bomb attack on Sunday in front of the Interior Ministry buildings in Ankara, leaving both of them dead and wounding two police officers in the capital city’s first blast in years.
They drove up to the building’s main entrance and set off the explosion in the area that is home to ministerial buildings and parliament, the interior minister said. The blast killed one of the attackers and authorities “neutralised” the other, he added.
Reuters footage after the blast showed a Renault cargo vehicle parked, windows shattered and doors open, amid debris scattered on the street surrounded by soldiers, police, ambulances, fire trucks and armoured vehicles.
The bomb on Ataturk Boulevard was the first in Ankara since 2016, and comes on the day that President Tayyip Erdogan is set to attend the opening session of parliament, located one kilometre (mile) away.
A senior Turkish official told Reuters the attackers had hijacked the vehicle and killed its driver in Kayseri, a city 260 km (161 miles) southeast of Ankara, before carrying out the attack. One of the injured officers suffered shrapnel injuries, he added.
“Two terrorists came with a light commercial vehicle in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of our Ministry of Internal Affairs and carried out a bomb attack,” Ali Yerlikaya, the interior minister, said on social media platform X.
He added that one blew himself up and the other was “neutralised”, which usually means was killed, while the two officers were slightly injured in the incident at 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT).
“Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralised,” he said, echoing condemnation by other Turkish officials.
Police also announced they would carry out controlled explosions for “suspicious package incidents” in other parts of Ankara.
Authorities did not identify any specific militant group.
The incident comes almost a year after six people were killed and 81 wounded in an explosion in a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul. Turkey blamed Kurdish militants for that.
During a spate of violence in 2015 and 2016, Kurdish militants, Islamic State and other groups either claimed or were blamed for several attacks in major Turkish cities. In March 2016, 37 people were killed in Ankara when a bomb-laden car exploded at a crowded central transport hub.
Ankara’s chief prosecutor launched an investigation on Sunday into what it also called a terrorist attack.
Erdogan was set at 7:30 p.m. to attend the opening of parliament, which in the coming weeks is expected to consider ratifying Sweden’s bid to join NATO after Turkey had raised initial objections and delayed enlargement of the bloc.
Charles Michel, European Council president, said he strongly condemned what he called the terrorist attack, while EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said it supports Turkey “in its fight against terrorism”.