ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish prosecutors cited strong evidence on Wednesday that an Islamic State (IS) cell in the southeastern city of Gaziantep carried out a spate of bombings culminating in a double suicide attack that killed more than 100 people in Ankara.
In a written statement, the Ankara prosecutor’s office said digital evidence indicated the Ankara bombers staged the attack, the worst of its kind in Turkish history, to undermine political stability and delay a parliamentary election set for Nov. 1.
“This group in Gaziantep took orders directly from the Daesh (Islamic State) terror group in Syria and planned attacks across Turkey,” the statement said.
“There is a strong evidence that the terrorist organization (Islamic State) carried out attacks on HDP buildings in Mersin and Adana, the Diyarbakir rally bombing and the Suruc bombing,” it said, referring to a string of attacks on the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
It said the IS cell wanted the public to believe that the Turkish state was responsible for the Ankara bombing, which targeted mostly Kurdish activists, and through this to legitimize attacks launched on the security forces by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.
President Tayyip Erdogan has said that the PKK as well as Syrian intelligence were also involved in the Ankara attack alongside Islamic State.
The Ankara prosecutor said the IS cell was also believed to be responsible for bombings of pro-Kurdish HDP offices in southern Turkey, the bombing of an HDP rally in Diyarbakir before a June 7 election, and a July suicide bombing in Suruc, near the Syrian border, in which 34 people were killed.
Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall/Mark Heinrich