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Suspected IS suicide bomber kills 51 at Turkey wedding

Kurdish militias play a significant role in the fight against IS on the ground in Syria. In photo: Women mourn as they wait in front of a hospital morgue in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Photograph: (Reuters)

AFP Gaziantep, Turkey Aug 20, 2016, 09.39 PM (IST)

At least 51 people were killed in a southeastern Turkish city close to Syria when a suspected suicide bomber linked to Islamic State jihadists attacked a wedding thronged with guests, officials said Sunday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters the death toll has risen from 50 to 51 with 94 hurt in the attack.

Erdogan said the IS extremist group was the "likely perpetrator" of the bomb attack, the deadliest in 2016, in Gaziantep late Saturday that targeted a celebration attended by many Kurds.

The remains of a suicide vest were found at the scene, the chief prosecutor's office said in a statement on Sunday, broadcaster CNN-Turk reported.

The explosion was the latest attack to rock the key NATO member in a horrific year that has seen strikes blamed on Kurdish and Islamist militants as well as a bloody July 15 botched coup.

Gaziantep governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement that 50 people had been killed, raising a previous toll of 30. He had previously said 94 were wounded in what he described as an 'abhorrent terror bomb attack on a wedding

Erdogan said in a statement there was "no difference" between the group of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen whom he blames for the failed coup bid, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) "and Daesh (IS), the likely perpetrator of the attack in Gaziantep". 

"Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us - you will not succeed!" he said.

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