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24 February, 2016

DNA evidence debunks Turkey claims over Ankara blast culprit

DNA evidence shows that the culprit behind a deadly blast in Ankara was Turkish-born, not Syrian as initially claimed by Turkish authorities, says a security official.

Last Wednesday, a car bomb went off next to several military buses near Turkey’s armed forces base in Ankara, killing 29 people. The following day Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu laid the blame for the incident on a Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighter, Salih Necar, hailing from the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah.

However, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) group claimed responsibility for the blast on its website on February 19.

On Tuesday, a senior Turkish security official, citing DNA evidence collected from the blast site, stated that Abdulbaki Somer, born in the eastern Turkish city of Van, was the bomber. The announcement fully corresponds with claims made by TAK.

The DNA report has been published. We saw that it was not Necar,” the Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity as the report is yet to be made public. “The bomber's DNA matches that of Abdulbaki's father. It looks like the bomber was Abdulbaki Somer, that's what the report is saying,” he said.

According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, prosecutors have confirmed the report.

Turkey regards the YPG and its political arm, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as allies of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.

The leader of the YPG has denied being behind the attack, saying Turkey is using the Ankara blast as a pretext to escalate its attacks in Syria.

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